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Church's new Ohio bishop supports same-sex unions

Episcopal
Church's new Ohio bishop supports same-sex unions

A priest who supports same-sex unions was elected Saturday as bishop of the Episcopal diocese of southern Ohio. ''I have a fairly settled conviction that any two persons who struggle to live and grow together in fidelity on a lifetime basis have the opportunity to experience God's grace and to use that relationship for holiness,'' the Reverend Thomas Edward Breidenthal said. However, Breidenthal, a dean of religious life at Princeton University, said he would not perform a same-sex union without the consent of the church. ''I have every hope that eventually the church will work this matter out,'' he said. The Episcopal Church, which has 2.3 million members, is at the center of a worldwide Anglican feud over how to interpret what the Bible says about sexuality. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who recently took office as presiding bishop, unapologetically supports ordaining gays and allowing blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples. In 2003 she voted to confirm New Hampshire bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. The uproar over his consecration is threatening to split the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch. Breidenthal, 55, was one of seven candidates nominated to lead the southern Ohio diocese, based in Cincinnati. He received 86 votes from clergy and 151 votes from lay delegates, a 51% majority from both groups. The diocese serves nearly 30,000 Episcopalians in 40 counties across southern Ohio. (AP)

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