Niles’ Trinity Episcopal Church rector: Wait and see

Published 12:11 pm Wednesday, August 6, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Rev. Frank "Rocky" Schuster, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Niles, said his position on the election of the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal church is one of wait and see.
Episcopal church leaders voted 62 to 45 Tuesday night to confirm the Rev. Gene Robinson, 56, as the head of the diocese of New Hampshire.
Robinson, who is divorced, has been in an openly gay relationship with the same partner for the last decade. The issue is threatening to divide the Episcopal church in America.
Schuster, the leader of Niles' 300-member Episcopal congregation, plans to address his congregation about the issue on Sunday.
Schuster said some, "but not a whole lot," of his congregation have talked to him about the issue.
Schuster said he doesn't know how he would have voted on electing Robinson as a bishop.
Schuster said he knows Robinson and has worked with him in the past.
Schuster said while Robinson is the first openly gay minister to be elected to bishop of the Episcopal church, "there have certainly been other gay clergy and bishops in the church and others have come out of the closet after they were ordained."
Trinity Episcopal Church in Niles is the oldest church in the Western Michigan Diocese and is thought to be the oldest continuous church congregation in Niles.