LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Saving souls, not dividing America's Episcopal church, is the goal of the Anglican Mission in America, according to an overseas clergyman who sponsors the young movement.
Archbishop Datuk Yong Ping Chung of Southeast Asia said the mission is bringing Anglicanism to Americans whose denomination has drifted from tradition.
''This is not a separate church,'' he told 500 followers at the group's annual conference, which concluded Sunday.
The mission draws conservatives who want to remain Anglicans but reject the Episcopal Church, especially over its policy allowing individual dioceses to tolerate homosexual behavior.
In sponsoring the mission and consecrating its bishops, Ping Chung and Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda have defied Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. Ping Chung and Kolini met Jan. 8 with Carey, who retires this year, but the Southeast Asian archbishop refused to say what transpired.
The mission, which started in 2000, reports 8,000 adherents, 80 clergy and 40 congregations. Bishop Chuck Murphy III of Pawleys Island, S.C., said the movement hopes to start 14 to 20 new parishes this year. The Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has 2.3 million members.
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