Saturday, May 9, 2009

A house of worship divided

This reporter get's it right with regard to which of the competing "Dioceses" is "new".

A dispute over women priests and same-sex marriage that sparked a legal battle over property ownership among higher-up Episcopal church leaders has trickled down to a personal level for a small Tracy congregation.

The fight split in half St. Mark’s Episcopal Church — which has since dropped the “Episcopal” from its title. It has strained friendships, some of which have only recently begun to heal. And it played a part in one man’s decision to convert to Catholicism.

“I got tired of all the fighting,” said Marvin Barth, 78, who enrolled in catechism last year and since Easter has attended St. Bernard’s Catholic Church. “I just wanted to be part of a church with a more conservative theology.”

So did Bishop John David Schofield, who led the ecclesiastical divorce, calling the U.S. Episcopalian Church too liberal.

The Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2006 was voted into a nine-year term as presiding bishop of the entire U.S. Episcopal denomination. For Schofield — who had never in his decades of church leadership appointed a woman to a high rank in the church — Schori’s election was the last straw.

When Schofield broke off from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin around Christmas in 2007 because he opposed the denomination’s decision to appoint women as bishops and support of same-sex marriage, a handful of churches split with him.

They called themselves Anglican after the schism and claimed membership with a newly formed Fresno-based diocese led by Schofield. Church leaders deemed too liberal by Schofield within the separated diocese were slowly replaced with more conservative leaders.

More here-

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