Traditionalist Episcopalians, who disagree with their American and Canadian church counterparts on the issues of Bible interpretation and the ordination of gays, formed their own group on Wednesday.
They voted yesterday to form their own branch of Anglicanism in the United States and said they would seek new recognition in the worldwide church, the Washington Post reported.
In the past five years, a small but growing number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have voted to depart from the church, but yesterday’s vote signifies the largest split for Anglicans.
The consecration of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who lives with his longtime male partner, brought matters to a boiling point.
According to the Los Angeles Times, leaders of the 2.1-million-member Episcopal Church lamented the loss but were uncertain about its effect on existing church bodies.
If the traditionalists try to take their church properties with them, they are likely to face lawsuits from the Episcopal Church. The church is already suing breakaway parishes and dioceses in several states to keep hold of church property.
Photo: The New York Times
“We will not predict what will or will not come out of this meeting but simply continue to be clear that the Episcopal Church, along with the Anglican Church of Canada and La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, comprise the official, recognized presence of the Anglican Communion in North America,” the Rev. Charles Robertson, advisor to the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, said in a statement.
This has been a long time coming; indeed, too long. The [fantasy] leadership in Canterbury chose to ensure this split when they refused to enforce the very Christian Doctrine that was once the foundation of the Reformist Church. My church and my diocese did not leave the leadership of the Church; rather, the leadership left us. However, we will continue as the real Anglican Church while Canterbury, Gene Robinson, and their shrinking numbers of revisionist supporters embark on their own non-Biblical, non-Christian attempts to rewrite the teachings of Christ and create their own new religion of social politics.