Sunday, July 19, 2009

Will Episcopal Church move draw in -- or drive out-- believers?

USA Today-

The Episcopal Church is opening the role of bishops to gays and lesbians -- and maybe widening the gap between the U.S. church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In a packed hall at their governing meeting in Anaheim Monday, the House of Bishops echoed the House of Deputies (priests and lay leaders) in a lopsided vote in favor of the move to allow "any ordained ministry" in the Church to any qualified person, according to Episcopal News Service.

(For the roll call vote, and observations of the post-vote press conference, check Episcopal Cafe for Jim Naughton's posts.)

This is expected to lift a self-imposed "restraint" on the Church confirming any more gay bishops since it accepted openly gay New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

Whether that "restraint" was a formal block or simply appeared like one, no other openly gay candidates have been elected since Robinson's confirmation ignited open warfare with traditionalists in the 2.1 million member denomination, the U.S. branch of the Communion.

Traditionalists had been unhappy for decades with changes in the prayer book, the acceptance of women bishops and other theological disputes. Last month, a breakaway umbrella group of Anglican traditionalists -- which will exclude women and gay bishops but allow discretion on whether women can be ordained as priests --Â started a rival national church, the Anglican Church in North America.

More here-

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