Four California priests and one in Colorado are the first within the U.S. Episcopal Church to be deposed for their actions in opposition to ordination of women.
The depostions became automatic six months after they had been suspended from priestly functions, as provided in the demominations's canons. The priests, supported by their congregations, have renounced the authority of their bishops.
The five priests have been actively involved in the formation of a "continuing" Episcopal Church, separate from the denomination as now constituted.
Bishop William Frey, of the Colorado diocese, deposed the Rev. James Mote of St. Mary's Church in Denver, the first congregation to vote to leave the Episcopal Church following the ordination decision at its General Convention last September.
Bishop Robert Rusack, of the Los Angeles diocese, deposed the Revs. John Barker and Elwood Trigg of St. Mary of the Angles Church, Hollywood, William T. St. John Brown of St. Matthias, Sun Valley, and Forest Miller of Our Saviour, Los Angeles.
A fifth Los Angeles area priest, the Rev. george Clendenin of the Church of the Holy Apostles, Glendale, said he expected similar action against him when his six-month suspension has run.
The Rev. C. Harry Christopher, canon-ordinary and director of operations of the Colorado diocese, said of Father Mote: "We cannot take away his ordination. This isn't a defrocking. The Episcopal Church doesn't do that. It just means that Father Mote's priestly functions aren't valid in the Episcopal Church."