Magazine article The Christian Century

Rival Anglican Church Body Forms for North America

Magazine article The Christian Century

Rival Anglican Church Body Forms for North America

Article excerpt

Dissident Episcopalians in North America unhappy with what they say is the "liberal turn" of the U.S. and Canadian branches of Anglicanism have announced that they are forming an alternative denomination, or province, within the worldwide communion.

The New York-based Episcopal Church and a spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams dismissed the steps taken in early December at a church in Wheaton, Illinois, as irregular and premature at the least.

Though the move to form an "emerging Anglican Church in North America" was not unexpected, it did illustrate the division sharpened by disagreements over church authority and homosexuality issues--principally the Episcopal Church's approval of a gay bishop in 2003.

"The public release of our draft constitution is an important concrete step toward the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America," Robert Duncan, the former Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh, said December 3. The Episcopal Church removed Duncan from his post as bishop in September for his "abandonment" of the U.S. denomination.

Supporting the new province is the Duncan-led Common Cause Partnership, which says it represents about 100,000 church members in the United States and Canada. By contrast, the Episcopal Church has 2.2 million members.

A statement from the office of Williams, the spiritual head of the 77-million-member global Anglican Communion, said specific steps must be taken to create new Anglican provinces. …

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