The Anglican Church in Southeast Asia said Friday that it has severed ties with its U.S. counterpart for elevating an openly gay man to the rank of bishop--another sign of growing worldwide disapproval for the move. Archbishop Yong Ping Chung, the Anglican primate for Southeast Asia, said leaders representing about 170,000 Anglicans in eight Asian countries voted unanimously on November 20 to cut ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church, a branch of the 77 million-member global Anglican Communion.
The Southeast Asian leaders voted at a special meeting of the region's synod, also known as a province, after the November 2 consecration of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, a decision that has divided the church in the United States and abroad. Robinson is the first openly gay man to hold the position of bishop in any major Christian denomination.
"The province no longer treats those in the Episcopalian Church in the United States of America who carried out and supported the act of consecration as brothers and sisters in Christ until and unless they repent of their action and return to embrace biblical truths," Yong said. The province regards Robinson's consecration as "a flagrant disregard of the fundamental teachings of the Bible and the long-established doctrines of the church," which it could not support, the statement said.
The Southeast Asian province of the church represents about 170,000 Anglicans in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, and Nepal.