New North American Anglican grouping won’t last says gay bishop

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New YorkA new North American group claiming to embrace “traditional Anglican values” will not last long, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop has predicted.Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual man living openly with a partner, whose 2003 consecration as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire created a backlash among traditional believers within the U.S., church, told Ecumenical News International he does not believe the new Anglican grouping has long-term viability.”A church that does not ordain women or openly gay people – I don’t see a future for that,” Robinson told ENI after delivering a sermon on 28 June at the First Presbyterian Church in New York City during the city’s annual gay pride festivities.His response came after the June 22-25 assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, meeting in Dallas, Texas, formalised years of dissatisfaction with the Episcopal Church over policies that have included the ordination of women, permission to perform holy unions for same-sex couples and the consecration of an openly gay bishop.Calling the week the foundation of a “hopeful future,” Archbishop Robert Duncan, the former Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said of the new denomination, “We are reaching out to North America in particular, and the whole world with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.”The breakaway grouping claims 100 000 members in 700 U.S. and Canadian parishes. These include four U.S. dioceses that cut ties with the Episcopal Church: Pittsburgh; Fort Worth, Texas; San Joaquin, California; and Quincy, Illinois. It also includes a number of other groups that had formed in recent years, including groupings with missionary efforts in Kenya, Uganda and the Southern Cone of South America.Duncan announced that two African Anglican provinces, those of Uganda and Nigeria, which are said to be the two largest Anglican provinces in the world, had formally recognised the new North America group.Among those addressing the assembly, attended by some 700 clergy and laity, was the Rev. Rick Warren, an evangelical leader in the United States, and Metropolitan Jonah, himself a former Episcopalian and the new primate of the Orthodox Church in North America, who told those assembled: “I am seeking an ecumenical restoration by being here today. This is God’s call to us.”The Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada did not formally comment on the ACNA assembly, the Episcopal News Service reported, but a representative of a group of Episcopalians who are remaining with the established U.S. church noted there is still unresolved litigation between the break-away Anglicans and the U.S. Episcopal Church over such issues as church property.”Despite the ACNA’s grand words, the new organization is being built largely with assets belonging to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. It is unclear what Christian moral principles can be invoked to justify this,” said Kenneth Stiles, a Pittsburgh attorney and vice president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh.

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Ecumenical News International, Chris Herlinger

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