First The Gays, Now The Girls: Episcopal Church Split Over New Leader

Katherine Jefferts Schori

First they consecrate an openly gay bishop. Next they elect the first female leader in the religion’s history. Clearly, changes are afoot inside the Episcopal Church — but likely only in the U.S. In Europe and Africa, meanwhile, things aren’t looking so liberal. Which is why America’s sect of the Anglican Communion could soon see itself split from the rest of the world.

When Katherine Jefferts Schori was elected Sunday to become head of the 2.2 million member U.S. denomination, shock waves were felt throughout the church. Not only is she a woman, she’s pro-gay; she gave Gene Robinson her vote to help him become the New Hampshire leader three years ago.

But this liberal series of changes is, according to all accounts, creating a “schism” (every journalist’s favorite word here) inside the 77 million member church. Outside the U.S., and particularly in Africa, Schori’s acceptance of gays in the church seems to be the paramount problem. And because of her acceptance of all people, the church is on the verge of splitting into two distinct groups. Some say it already has.

Anglicans face gloomy prediction of schism [Reuters]