Main | Thursday, December 04, 2008

Episcopal Church Splits Over Gays

Conservatives within the Episcopal Church have announced they are forming a new denomination specifically to separate themselves from those willing to accept gays.
Conservatives alienated from the Episcopal Church announced on Wednesday that they were founding their own rival denomination, the biggest challenge yet to the authority of the Episcopal Church since it ordained an openly gay bishop five years ago. The move threatens the fragile unity of the Anglican Communion, the world’s third-largest Christian body, made up of 38 provinces around the world that trace their roots to the Church of England and its spiritual leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The conservatives intend to seek the approval of leaders in the global Anglican Communion for the province they plan to form. If they should receive broad approval, their effort could lead to new defections from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism. In the last few years, Episcopalians who wanted to leave the church but remain in the Anglican Communion put themselves under the authority of bishops in Africa and Latin America. A new American province would give them a homegrown alternative.
The new church says it will begin with 100,000 members, compared to the 2.3M in the main Episcopal Church. One liberal official with the Episcopal Church predicts the new denomination will not grow much larger: “I think this organization does not have much of a future because there are already a lot of churches in the United States for people who don’t want to worship with gays and lesbians. That’s not a market niche that is underserved.”

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