Sunday, 9 December 2007

Calif. diocese votes to split with Episcopal Church over role of gays, lesbians

An Episcopal diocese in central California voted Saturday to split with the national denomination over disagreements about the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

Clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted 173-22 at their annual convention to remove all references to the national church from the diocese's constitution, according to spokeswoman Joan Gladstone.

The Fresno-based congregation is the first full diocese to secede because of a conservative-liberal rift that began decades ago and is now focused on whether the Bible condemns gay relationships.

The diocese, in a later vote, accepted an invitation to join a conservative South American congregation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. member of the global Anglican Communion.

The decision is almost certain to spark a court fight over control of the diocese's multimillion-dollar real estate holdings and other assets. Read more
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