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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
Conservatives warn of Church split
Gene Robinson
Robinson's case caused deep divisions in the US Anglican Church
Conservatives in the US branch of the Anglican Church are demanding that their leaders reverse policy towards homosexual clergy and are warning of a possible split.

About 2,700 conservatives gathered for a protest meeting in Dallas, Texas, over the election this year of the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson.

A declaration adopted by clergy, bishops and laypeople present said the Episcopal Church's General Convention had "broken fellowship with the larger body of Christ".

It called on leaders of the 2.3 million strong Episcopal Church to "repent of and reverse the unbiblical and schismatic" actions.

There were also calls for next week's emergency meeting of leaders of the 80 million strong Anglican Communion to worldwide "intervene in the Episcopal Church".

We hope the primates will hear a strong and desperate and clear plea from faithful Anglicans
Rev Kendall Harmon
American Anglican Council
"We're asking primates not only to intervene but to discipline those bishops who by their actions departed from biblical faith and order," said American Anglican Council member Reverend Kendall Harmon, who is canon theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina.

"We hope that the primates will hear a strong and desperate and clear plea from faithful Anglicans."

Turmoil

The three-day meeting was organised by the AAC - a traditionalist group which fought the decision to ratify Mr Robinson and which opposes same-sex blessings.

It attracted 800 clergy and 46 bishops, Reuters news agency said.

Mr Robinson, who has been in a same-sex relationship for several years and who has two children from an earlier marriage, was confirmed by bishops of the Episcopal Church in the post of Bishop of New Hampshire in August by 62 votes to 45.

At the time the AAC had urged the House of Bishops to "uphold the historic Christian faith" and vote no.

The vote caused turmoil both within the US Church itself and worldwide.

Several leaders, or primates, in Asia and Africa also condemned the appointment and threatened to split from the US arm.

Observers say it is hoped the Archbishop of Canterbury can use next week's emergency meeting in London to prevent the controversy leading to the break-up of the Anglican Church.


SEE ALSO:
African divide over gay bishop
08 Sep 03 |  Africa
US church backs gay bishop
01 Aug 03 |  Americas
Gay bishop debate stirs passions
02 Aug 03 |  Americas
Q&A: The Anglican Communion
06 Aug 03 |  In Depth


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