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Virginia church signals Anglican rift

Sept. 7, 2004 at 10:18 AM

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The isolation of U.S. Episcopalian leaders from Episcopalians around the world is about to reach a milestone in Virginia with an unusual church service.

Outside the United States, Episcopalians are known as Anglicans, and comprise a global body of 70 million grouped into 38 national "provinces."

So far 22 of those provinces have cut or "impaired" ties to the U.S. church for its leaders' decision to ordain non-celibate homosexuals as clergy. To remain part of the worldwide Anglican communion, more and more U.S. Episcopalians are seeking formal links with one of those 22 communions outside the United States.

The latest example is the provocative decision by Virginia's Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax to hold confirmation services next week without any of their own bishops, the Washington Times reported Tuesday.

Instead, Truro has invited a former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to conduct the confirmations.

The move galls U.S. bishop Peter Lee, Truro's nominal leader, and his fellow U.S. bishops.

"This will be an occasion for celebration but also a sign of the serious brokenness of the Episcopal Church and a tragic reminder of our alienation from the ministry of our own bishop," said Truro's pastor.

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