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Money complicates Anglican, Episcopal rift

March 20, 2007 at 9:36 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- One complicating factor in the split in the worldwide Anglican Communion is that the U.S. Episcopal Church provides a disproportionate share of the money.

There are only 2.3 million Episcopalians in the United States and 77 million Anglicans around the world with the fastest-growing churches in Africa. But about one-third of the money to support the communion comes from the United States, The New York Times reports.

More conservative Anglicans, especially in some African countries, have long looked askance at the U.S. church. The Episcopal Church began ordaining women in the late 1970s and open homosexuals a decade later, but the consecration of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2004 created a firestorm.

The communion has threatened to cut its ties with the Episcopal Church unless it agrees by Sept. 30 to create no more gay bishops.

Canon James Rosenthal, of the Anglican Communion Office in London, said the U.S. church has not, so far, threatened to stop the flow of money.

"Any default on the total amount of money needed would have serious implications for the Anglican Communion and its work, especially when you are talking about 30 percent or more of its budget."

© 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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