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Conservative US Episcopal Church Members Organize in Opposition to Gay Bishop - 2004-01-19

Conservative members of the Episcopalian Church in the United States are meeting to organize a group opposed to the consecration of a homosexual bishop and other liberal trends in the church.

The two-day meeting began Monday in Plano, Texas, to form a group called the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, led by the Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan.

The group is being described as a "church within a church" opposed to the consecration in November of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who has lived for years with a gay partner. Organizers deny that they are breaking away from the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, consisting of denominations that stem from the Church of England. Many foreign Anglican churches have denounced or broken fellowship with the Episcopal Church over Bishop Robinson's consecration, which they say violates Biblical teachings against homosexuality.