In yet another sign of Anglican fracture, six conservative Episcopal priests in Connecticut face possible suspension from their pulpits after defying a bishop's order to submit to his authority. The pastors, and their congregations, oppose Andrew Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. Smith backed the 2003 consecration of V. Eugene Robinson, an openly practicing homosexual.

Smith told ct that while he has offered to arrange alternate supervision, he cannot allow the congregations to effectively secede from the diocese. "The relationship to the whole diocese is fundamental for the Episcopal Church, no matter what the time or situation or issue."

However, the six said in a statement, "We do not understand how we have in any way 'abandoned the communion of this church.'" They have asked for "oversight as called for by the primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion in their statements of October 2003 and February 2005."

While this case has drawn national and international attention, it is symptomatic of widespread battles over orthodoxy in the denomination of 2.3 million members. In the last year, about a dozen churches nationwide have broken with the Episcopal Church usa, and more are discussing the matter. Other churches have split or joined theologically conservative Anglican movements.

One of the dissident priests, Allyn Benedict of Christ Church in Watertown, told the New Haven Register, "This is a question for the church around the world. We have to decide to walk together or walk apart."

During an April 21 meeting for Episcopal clergy in Hartford, the bishop laid out his position.

"His intention … was to name his charge against us and argue his case in order to gain support from diocesan clergy," Christopher ...

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