View Full Version : 3rd Episcopal diocese splits from national church

11-10-2008, 04:46 PM
3rd Episcopal diocese splits from national church
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

NEW YORK (AP) -- A third theologically conservative diocese has broken away from the liberal Episcopal Church in a long-running dispute over the Bible, gay relationships and other issues.

The Diocese of Quincy, Ill., took the vote at its annual meeting that ended Saturday.

Two other dioceses San Joaquin, based in Fresno, Calif., and Pittsburgh already have split off. Next weekend, the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, will vote whether to follow suit.

The three breakaway dioceses are aligning with the like-minded Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina, to try to keep their place in the world Anglican Communion. The 77-million-member Anglican fellowship, which includes the U.S. Episcopal Church, has roots in the missionary work of the Church of England.

Meanwhile, national Episcopal leaders are reorganizing the seceding dioceses with local parishioners who want to stay in the church. Complex legal fights have already started in San Joaquin over control of millions of dollars in diocesan property and assets.

The head of the New York-based denomination, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, said in a statement Saturday, "We lament the departure" in Quincy.

The Quincy diocese, based in Peoria, has 24 churches and missions and about 1,800 members. Clergy and lay delegates approved withdrawal with a 95 to 26 vote.

"This decision was not made lightly," said the Rev. John Spencer, a diocesan spokesman. "We have talked and prayed about this for a very long time."

Episcopalians and their fellow Anglicans have been debating for decades how they should interpret what Scripture says on issues ranging from salvation to sexuality.

Tensions erupted in 2003 when the denomination consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, pushing the Anglican family toward the brink of schism. The majority of overseas Anglicans hold traditional views of Scripture and believe the Bible bars gay relationships. Many have pushed for the ouster of the Episcopal Church from the communion.

Within the U.S. church, the outlook is different. Most of the 2.2 million Episcopalians don't consider their theological differences cause to leave the denomination.

11-10-2008, 06:45 PM
And the Presiding Bishop's Response:

PB on Quincy
From the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, on the vote at the Quincy convention:

We lament the departure from The Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois. The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs. We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys. May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.

Talk about a message that reeks of either spin or denial...