Nearly nine months after being consecrated as bishops by Anglican archbishops from Rwanda and south-east Asia, two American clerics have begun missionary efforts to strengthen a traditionalist Anglican network in the United States, despite opposition from the U.S. Episcopal (Anglican) Church.
One of the two bishops said that their ministry was aimed at what he called "a crisis of leadership and faith" in the Episcopal Church. "This is a reformation," Charles H. Murphy III told ENI in an interview. "We're in the middle of a realignment. It is history-breaking. It is extraordinary."
Bishop Murphy and Bishop John H. Rodgers represent the Anglican Mission in America (AMA), which hopes to attract Episcopal parishes and clergy and form a new conservative alliance with formal ties to the Anglican Communion. However their ministry has been criticized by many bishops of the Anglican Communion, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey.
Bishop Murphy, based in South Carolina, and Rodgers, based in Pennsylvania, have been meeting clergy and parish leaders critical of the Episcopal Church, which is one of America's more liberal denominations. It is also among the most liberal provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Bishop Murphy told ENI that up to 24 parishes in the U.S. were formally severing or considering severing their ties with the Episcopal Church and aligning with the AMA. He admitted those numbers were small in the 2.5-million-member denomination, which has 7500 parishes.
But, he said, he and others believed it was the start of "the unraveling" of the Episcopal Church. "This is a constant, unfolding drama," he told ENI.
Bishop Rodgers was not available for comment, but, according to Episcopal News Service (ENS), ...1
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