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National Briefing / PENNSYLVANIA

Diocese breaks from U.S. church

October 05, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Clergy and lay members of the theologically conservative Pittsburgh diocese voted overwhelmingly Saturday to break from the liberal Episcopal Church, with which it differs on issues ranging from homosexuality to biblical teachings on salvation.

Assistant Bishop Henry Scriven said the vote meant the Pittsburgh diocese is now more firmly aligned with the majority of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, which is more conservative.

"I am delighted that what we have done today is bringing the Diocese of Pittsburgh back into the mainstream of worldwide Anglicanism," Scriven said.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the 2.2-million-member U.S. church, criticized the vote in a statement, saying, "There is room in this church for all who desire to be members of it." Schism is not an "honored tradition within Anglicanism" and is "frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy," she said.

The votes were 240 in favor of leaving, 102 against. Eight voters either abstained or cast disqualified ballots.

The Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno, Calif., was the first to leave the U.S. church, in 2006. Dioceses in Quincy, Ill., and Fort Worth, Texas, are set to vote next month on leaving.

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