Fort Worth Episcopal diocese joins new Anglican Church in North America

Frederick W. Schmidt, director of Spiritual Formation and Anglican Studies in SMU's Perkins School of Theology, talks about the split in the Episcopal Church.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Unable to tolerate the positions of the U.S. Episcopal Church on gay issues, leaders from Fort Worth and three other dioceses have established a breakaway denomination.

For years, Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker has voiced his displeasure over the blessing of gay unions and the 2003 consecration of an openly gay man as a bishop.

On Wednesday in Wheaton, Ill., Iker and other leaders of the dioceses, which previously voted to dissociate from the Episcopal Church, announced the creation of the Anglican Church in North America. The denomination will also include breakaway Anglican parishes from Canada.

The split follows decades of debate over what Episcopalians should believe about issues ranging from salvation to sexuality. . .

The Rev. Frederick Schmidt, an Episcopal priest and theology professor at Southern Methodist University, said that only the Archbishop of Canterbury can decide who is a part of the Anglican Communion.

"This would be a little bit like a group of people outside the 50 states of the United States claiming suddenly to be a part of the United States of America," he said.

Schmidt also questioned the long-term viability of the denomination.

"The question becomes . . . Can you actually build a church around a negative?" he said.

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