Conservative Episcopalians’ steady exodus from the Episcopal Church accelerated before Christmas as eight Virginia congregations—including two large, historic parishes—voted to leave the national body.
The Diocese of Virginia has lost 12 congregations and about 18 percent of its average Sunday worship attendance in recent battles over homosexuality and the authority of scripture, according to figures provided by the diocese.
The size of the breakaway parishes, their historical importance and their success at starting new congregations all sent shivers through the Episcopal Church, said influential conservative theologian Kendall Harmon. “This is terribly significant,” said Harmon of South Carolina. “When you lose large churches, you don’t just lose an individual parish, you lose a great big part of the family.”
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).