Episcopal conservatives clarify support for their alternative network

Posted: Friday, December 26, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) Organizers of a ''network'' for Episcopalians opposed to gay clergy say 13 bishops have endorsed the idea. But so far only three dioceses said they'll send delegates to a meeting that will establish their organization Jan. 19-20 in Plano, Texas.

The American Anglican Council originally said 13 dioceses ''have already joined'' the emerging Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. It later clarified that 13 bishops have endorsed a Nov. 20 ''memorandum of agreement'' on setting up the network but only three of their dioceses have formally joined.

The Rev. Kendall Harmon, a key strategist in the South Carolina Diocese, said the standing committee of a diocese must approve sending its bishop, along with clergy and lay delegates, to Plano. That's been done by the dioceses of South Carolina, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh's Bishop Robert Duncan, the network moderator, identified 10 other dioceses whose bishops support the Nov. 20 memorandum: Albany, N.Y.; Florida (Jacksonville); Central Florida (Orlando); Southwest Florida (Sarasota); Springfield, Ill.; Quincy (Peoria, Ill.); Western Kansas; Dallas; Rio Grande (Albuquerque) and San Joaquin (Fresno, Calif.).

Their memorandum says the network will unite dioceses and congregations that uphold the Bible and ''the historic faith'' and will ''operate in good faith within the Constitution'' of the Episcopal Church. The signers commissioned Duncan to direct ''prompt and orderly formation of the network.''


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