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Episcopal Church rejects demands on gays

June 16, 2007 at 5:35 PM

NEW YORK, June 16 (UPI) -- Leaders of the Episcopal Church in the United States have rejected demands they adopt a stronger stand against homosexuality.

The church Executive Council ended a four-day meeting Friday, issuing a statement refusing to pledge to refrain from ordaining gay bishops or blessing same-sex relationships, The Guardian reported. The council also said it would not allow conservative Episcopalians to have a separate organization, the British newspaper said.

The decision brings a split in the Anglican Communion closer. The communion, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is a loose grouping of Anglican churches around the world.

Williams, now on sabbatical in the United States, plans to meet with U.S. bishops in September in New Orleans in an effort to heal the breach. A meeting of African bishops in February set the end of September as a deadline for U.S. compliance.

"My fear is people are starting to behave less like a world communion and it is becoming more like ecclesiastical chaos," said Canon Gregory Cameron, deputy secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

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