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Leader Of Anti-Gay Anglican Church Fired For Surfing Porn On Church Computer

01/11/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Reverend Marshall Brown was the associate rector at Truro Church, which broke away from the Anglican Communion back in 2003 after Gene Robinson was elected Bishop in New Hampshire. He was the associate rector until he got fired for repeatedly using a church computer to surf for pornography. In fact, Truro Church’s clergy helped to lead fourteen Virginia Parishes in breaking away from the Episcopal Church after Bishop V. Gene Robinson was elected to his post. He was the first openly gay Bishop in the Anglican Communion.

In 2005, Truro Church arranged for Brown to receive treatment for an internet addiction. He reported having a problem at that time, according to Bishop Martyn Minns, the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, an umbrella group of breakaway churches. Minns did not ask Brown back in 2005 about what kind of websites he was visiting, but has stated that “there was nothing illegal or involving children. . .I didn’t ask too many questions.”

He was removed last month for accessing “websites that would be considered pornography,” according to Truro Executive Director Warren Thrasher. Minns has known Brown since seminary, and is now launching an investigation into what happened and whether or not Brown should be stripped of his priestly credentials. Minns said “Part of my thing now is to dig deeper. I was assured [in 2005] that he had a program for whatever he needed not to be addicted, and it was no longer a problem. I don’t know now, based on what’s happened, how much I can trust those assurances.”

On 19 December, church leaders held a meeting to talk to members about the firing. The parishioners were told to direct any questions from outsiders to the church leadership. Some did answer questions without wanting their names known for fear of being ostracized, according to the Washington Post. Some said that they were concerned that the addiction was kept quiet for years without anyone being told about it.

Ernie Wakeham, a seventy year old member from Oakton, said in support of the church leadership “That’s why you have a vestry. You pick them and invest in them and expect them to do what’s right. I think it’s appropriate to not say details. That’s something in my viewpoint that’s between him and God.”

According to Minns, Brown is in ‘shock’, and that he is getting treatment again. Brown, for his part, also regrets the way his tenure at Truro ended, and how his actions have effected his family anc church. He has refused to go into specifics.

Minns said Brown “is in shock” and is getting treatment again.

Reached at home this week, Brown said he deeply regrets the way his tenure at Truro ended and the way his actions have affected his family and church.

He declined to go into the specifics of what happened, but said, “The church, Bishop Minns, they’ve treated me fairly. If I were a denominational leader, I would do exactly the same thing.”

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