Anglican Churches Request Alternative Diocese in America

More than 17 Anglican churches across the South requested the Church of Kenya to form a diocese in America.

After three-and-a-half years of oversight from the Anglican Church of Kenya, St. Peter's Anglican Church in Memphis, Tenn., along with other congregations, put in the request to Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, who visited the church over the weekend.

There were 17 churches represented at the weekend meeting, according to the Rev. Stephen Carpenter, founding priest of St. Peter's. An additional congregation in Boston, Mass., not present at the meeting, also backed the request.

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The 18 U.S. churches, presently affiliated with the Church of Kenya, join a growing number of congregations that are establishing a conservative alternative to the Episcopal Church.

Nine conservative churches in Virginia recently joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), which was established as an outreach initiative of the Church of Nigeria. Nigerian bishops expressed delight over the continual growth of the splinter group.

Similarly, Anglican dioceses in the South and the Northeast are hoping to build its own province with approval from the Archbishop of Kenya.

Nzimbi said he will discuss the request at the February Primates meeting which will gather representatives from around the world. He hopes to have an answer by April.

"We must go slowly and assure that in every step we are giving honor and glory to God," said Nzimbi at the weekend meeting, according to Memphis' The Commercial Appeal.

Congregations began to split from the Episcopal Church when the 2an openly gay bishop was consecrated in 2003. While homosexuality triggered the exodus of churches from the national body, the conservative groups have emphasized that the Episcopal Church's departure from Scriptural authority caused their breakaway.

Early this week, Bishops in Nigeria warned the worldwide Anglican Communion that they would go separate ways if the Episcopal Church does not repent of its apostasies.

"Christian unity must be anchored on Biblical truth," the Most. Rev. Peter Akinola of the Church of Nigeria stressed.

As conservative Anglicans in the U.S. patiently await a response from the Archbishop of Kenya, Carpenter said their goal is "for the Episcopal Church to sort of see the error of its ways and reunite with all of us," according to the local newspaper.

Otherwise, they hope to establish a single Anglican communion in America, said Carpenter.

"Establishing an Anglican diocese with a bishop here in America would give all of us a new home."

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