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Episcopalian unity at risk over gays

July 30, 2003 at 10:21 AM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, July 30 (UPI) -- Homosexuality is threatening to divide the Episcopalian church at its eight-day convention in Minneapolis, a report said Wednesday.

More than 1,000 Episcopalians are gathered for what promises to be a contentious General Convention. The bishop of Washington, The Rt. Rev. John B. Chane has criticized conservatives who have threatened to split the church if delegates confirm a gay bishop or move toward the blessing of same-sex couples. He says they are trying to provoke fear among the delegates.

The convention, which meets every three years, is scheduled to vote Sunday on whether to confirm the June 7 election by Episcopalians in New Hampshire of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson as their new bishop, the Washington Post reported.

Robinson, 56, would be the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, a worldwide family of churches with 75 million members, including about 2.3 million U.S. Episcopalians.

The convention will also decide, probably on Monday or Tuesday, whether to develop an official liturgy for blessing gay unions.

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