group from the Episcopal Church announced Wednesday that it
will establish a rival denomination, challenging the
mainstream church's decision to ordain openly gay
bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.
The group said it
will file with the leaders of the global Anglican
Communion to form its own sect (Episcopalians are the
American branch of Anglicans, which is rooted by the
Church of England led by the Archbishop of
Canterbury). If the sect is approved, other groups breaking
away may also defect from the church.
was ordained as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire,
several U.S. churches have aligned themselves with harshly
conservative leaders in Africa and Latin America. The
division would mark the first time a branch of the
Anglican church was divided by ideology and not
geography. There are 38 provinces of the denomination around
the world, making it the third-largest Christian body
The new branch,
the Anglican Church in North America, would consist of
100,000 members, compared to 2.3 million Episcopalians,
according to The New York Times. The new
province would unite nine groups that have left the
Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over
ideological differences, including four of the 110 Episcopal
dioceses, and dozens of individual parishes in the
U.S. and Canada.
The new church
may have to find new buildings for its congregations. The
breakaway churches face lawsuits from the Episcopal Church
if they attempt to take their properties with them.
(Michelle Garcia, Advocate.com)