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New Episcopal group won't break away over gays

New Episcopal group won't break away over gays

A newly formed network of nearly 3,000 orthodox Episcopalians said Saturday that they have no intention of breaking away from the 2.3 million-member church, although they continue to be outraged over the consecration of openly gay New Hampshire bishop V. Gene Robinson, The Washington Post reports. Members of the group, meeting in Northern Virginia, said they intend to stay within the legal structure of the church while fighting for its direction and for international recognition as the legitimate North American branch of the 75 million-member Anglican Communion. "We're not going anywhere," the network's convener, Bishop Robert Duncan Jr. of Pittsburgh, told the Post. The network's rise has often been described as a schism, but its founders repeatedly stressed that they are not breaking away. To make this crystal clear, the association's proposed name is Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes of the Episcopal Church, Duncan said. A meeting scheduled for January 19-20 in Plano, Tex., will formally establish a network of traditionalist Episcopal congregations across the United States. There are real financial considerations for groups wanting to break away from a hierarchical church: They lose all rights to former property, courts have ruled. In the Episcopal Church, this general principle is bolstered by church law that places ultimate ownership of every parish's land, buildings, and real property--from the steeple to the hymnals--in the hands of its diocese and the national church. "There is no such thing as a parish leaving the Episcopal Church," said James Solheim, spokesman for the national church. "People can leave. Clergy can leave. But even if every single person left, the diocese would come in and appoint a vicar and reorganize the parish." What might happen if an entire diocese seceded from the church is unclear, because none has ever tried. But Solheim said the church's attorneys would argue that all of the diocese's property should remain with the national church.

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