June 22, 2009
By DARREN BARBEE
BEDFORD — Representatives from breakaway Episcopal congregations and dioceses — bound together in opposition to gay priests and same-sex marriage as well as in their desire to preach the Gospel — will gather here this week to create a new Anglican province.
Some say the provincial assembly gathered at St. Vincent’s Episcopal Cathedral Church in Bedford may create something geographically unprecedented in the United States: a second Anglican province.
One province would be the new and theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America; the other, the established and theologically liberal U.S. Episcopal Church.
Voting participants of the assembly, from the United States and Canada, will decide on a constitution and church laws for the new province. They will then return home and consider later whether to join it.
Going forward, a major question will be whether Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, seen as a key figure in the Anglican Communion, will recognize the new province as a member of the communion’s body of 77 million worshippers. . .
Time will also be devoted to the business of the new province, including the installation of Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh as archbishop.
The Rev. Frederick Schmidt, an Episcopal priest and theology professor at Southern Methodist University, said the province has its work cut out.
"The question about the future of this proposed new denomination is the same as it’s always been," Schmidt said. "It’s clear about what it doesn’t approve of. The question is, does it share enough in common . . . to build a denomination around? And I think that’s an open question."
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