Members here on both sides of controversy

By CHARLES PEARL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Phillip Kring, treasurer of the Church of the Ascension, Frankfort's Episcopal Church, said Tuesday's election of the church's first openly gay bishop leaves him "really confused."

However, the election of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire pleased Frankfort's Ann Wingrove, a lifelong Episcopalian who was raised as a member of The Falls Church Episcopal Church in northern Virginia where George Washington was a vestry member.

A Franklin County magistrate and downtown merchant, Kring said, "For a longtime layperson like me, I have problems with it. I don't know that I've formed a good, solid opinion yet. It seems strange. I didn't know my church ordained gay ministers until this issue came up."

Kring said he doesn't have a problem with a gay lifestyle.

"I just don't know if it's proper for a priest to be gay," he said. "I was always taught homosexuality was a sin, and how can you ordain someone who is a sinner, who hasn't repented? If he was living with a woman and not married, I don't think they would have ordained him. It seems like two sets or rules."

Kring said he was raised a Baptist, but has been a member of the Episcopal Church about 15 years. The gay bishop issue leaves him wondering if he will remain an Episcopalian.

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