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Split possible in U.S. Episcopal church

Nov. 12, 2005 at 9:11 AM

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Conservative Episcopalians say the U.S. church's decision to allow gay bishops and same-sex unions will force some congregations to split from it.

That message was the focus Friday of a meeting of 2,400 bishops, clergy and lay leaders from Episcopal and Anglican dioceses from around the world in Pittsburgh, The New York Times reports.

The conference was organized by the Anglican Communion Network, a splinter group of 10 dioceses that oppose recent decisions by the Episcopal Church U.S.A., the U.S.-branch of the Anglican Communion.

Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, was consecrated as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

A 2004 report from an Anglican commission called for the church to apologize for allowing that to happen. The church refused and is expected to outline a response at its general convention next June.

If the response isn't sufficient, conservative church members in the United States say they may split from the church, a move backed by international Anglican leaders such as the archbishops of the West Indies and South East Asia.

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