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'Islamopalian' Priest Deposed

"Bishop Wolf's handling of this situation is an example of proper discipline within the church and is to be commended." - Jeff Walton, IRD Spokesman

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, April 1 /Christian Newswire/ -- A controversial priest who claimed both Muslim and Christian faith was permanently removed from ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church today. The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding of Seattle made her profession of faith in Islam in March 2006 and insisted that her new beliefs did not conflict with Christianity.

Redding had been under an inhibition from ministry since the summer of 2007 at the direction of Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island. Redding was originally ordained by Wolf's predecessor and was still canonically resident in the Rhode Island diocese.

The Episcopal Church has recently been forced to address a similar controversy with the election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester to be bishop of Northern Michigan. Thew Forrester has received a Zen Buddhist lay ordination.

Jeff Walton of the Institute on Religion & Democracy commented:

"Bishop Wolf handled this situation well: she removed Redding from ministry in order that her priestly role not be compromised, directed her to study the differences between Islam and Christianity, and gave her the opportunity to change course.

"Releasing Redding from her vows and concluding her ordained ministry within the Episcopal Church was the only way to resolve the situation due to her intractable position that she was both a Muslim and a Christian.

"The Episcopal Church's baptismal service asks all Christians to '[c]onfess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.' The idea that a person can become a Muslim while remaining an Episcopal priest in good standing trivializes both faiths.

"The election of Kevin Thew Forrester as Bishop of Northern Michigan poses the same problems as Ann Holmes Redding. A person with spiritual loyalties outside of the Christian faith cannot lead a flock in the Episcopal Church.

"A person must choose which is the final and complete revelation of God. Is it Jesus Christ, or is it the message of the Koran, which denies Christ's death and resurrection?"