On Saturday, November 12, Frank Lyons, the conservative Anglican bishop of Bolivia, performed four ordinations heard round the world.

In front of 2,400 conservative church leaders at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Lyons ordained three deacons and one priest—all who will minister in liberal dioceses of the Episcopal Church. In 2003, the 2.3 million-member denomination's top leaders endorsed V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire. That act galvanized conservative opposition to the church's leftward march. About 22 of 38 primates (as global Anglicanism's leading bishops are called) oppose Robinson's consecration, setting in motion a clash of historic proportions among the world's 77 million Anglicans.

After the ordinations, Lyons told Christianity Today, "The Anglican Communion is broken." He said he and his archbishop in South America (Gregory Venables, Southern Cone) do not recognize the Episcopal Church as a legitimate Anglican body. "As far as I'm concerned, this is one great missionary territory up here for anybody." He said his diocese now has oversight for 18 congregations and 30 clergy within the United States. In normal times, a bishop would never assert that kind of direct control over churches outside his own diocese.

Overseas Oversight

There may be as many as 200 Anglican/Episcopal congregations receiving oversight from non-U.S. bishops or archbishops, mostly from the Global South—Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.

In addition to Bolivia, oversight is coming from conservative leaders in Chile, Southeast Asia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. One leader estimated that conservative Anglicans are planting a new congregation in the United States or ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.