Episcopal priest who acknowledged being Druid leader resigns

Posted: Friday, November 12, 2004

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. (AP) A priest who was criticized by fellow Episcopalians for helping lead a Druid society is leaving his congregation.

A letter to parishioners said lay leaders of St. James' Episcopal Church decided recent events made it difficult for the Rev. William Melnyk ''to continue effectively'' and that he would resign as rector, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Melnyk and his wife, fellow Episcopal priest the Rev. Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk, were discovered to be leaders of a local society of Druids, who follow pre-Christian worship of the sun and veneration of Earth.

Ruppe-Melnyk, who led services Sunday at her church in Malvern, St. Francis-in-the-Fields, faces possible discipline from the Pennsylvania Diocese.

The Episcopal Church women's ministry posted on its Web site two of the couple's Druidic liturgies among resources for feminist worship, then removed them when protest erupted.

The priests wrote that they ''recanted and repudiated'' their ties to Druidism. They said they were seeking to help church dropouts ''find a way to reconnect.''

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