The revelation of his hidden world comes at a time of deep tension within the Episcopal Church of the United States over the issue of homosexuality. Since the church ordained an openly gay bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003, a dozen congregations in various parts of the country have withdrawn from the American branch of the church and aligned themselves with theologically conservative African or South American branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part.
Those African and South American branches have described homosexuality as “an offense to God.”
At St. John the Divine, where inclusiveness toward those of all backgrounds and sexual orientations has long been fundamental to the culture of the congregation ”” in part as a result of Bishop Moore’s leadership ”” the reaction was more complicated.
“I’d like to say that we all have secret lives ”” and that’s why we come here,” said Mary Burrell, a longtime member of the congregation. “We are all sinners, trying to find our way.”