Conservatives' plan to elect their own bishop could change if Episcopal Church takes action

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2002

ROSEMONT, Pa. (AP) -- An organization that opposes women priests says it will defy Episcopal Church rules and nominate a bishop on its own later this year, although it might relent if the denomination authorizes a special bishop to serve alienated conservatives.

For three years, U.S. conservatives have asked the Episcopal Church to authorize British-style visiting or ''flying'' bishops to lead some parishes. The congregations are at odds with their regular bishops, who have liberal policies on women clergy and homosexual behavior.

A closed-door meeting of leaders from Anglican branches worldwide last year appeared to endorse the idea, but U.S. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said no agreement was reached.

The Rev. David Moyer, president of the conservative Forward in Faith North America, said an unidentified archbishop from outside the United States has agreed to appoint and consecrate a visiting bishop for the 17,000-member organization.

Moyer, a Rosement rector estranged from his own bishop, said two or three finalists will be chosen at an assembly Aug. 18-21 at Belleville, Ill. Plans for that election were finalized last week.

They could be reconsidered, Moyer said, if the Episcopal hierarchy authorizes visiting bishops during a meeting near Navasota, Texas, March 7-12. Moyer said he briefed the world Anglican leader, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, on his group's plan last month.


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