AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- University Baptist Church has voted to leave the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship because that body opposes hiring of non-celibate gays and lesbians and funding of pro-homosexual causes.
This is not the first time the Austin church has left a larger Baptist group. It was previously ousted by Southern Baptist city and state organizations after installing a gay deacon, but retains affiliation with the American Baptist Churches.
The Baptist fellowship unites congregations that oppose conservative policies of the Southern Baptist Convention, but is not as liberal on the gay issue as University Baptist.
Meanwhile, the Baptist World Alliance, which unites 43 million Baptists in 186 denominations, has denied membership to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Associated Baptist Press reported.
The alliance said its bylaws require that member bodies not be part of another entity. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has not formally broken away from the Southern Baptist Convention as a separate denomination.
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