An official with the Institute on Religion and Democracy expects to see the current conflicts within the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) continue throughout the coming year, including schism over the current liberal leadership and direction of the denomination.

This past year, the ECUSA's new presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, said Christ was not the only way to get to Heaven. She also remarked that homosexuals do not choose their behavior (see earlier story). These and other indications of Bishop Schori's biblically unorthodox beliefs have sparked criticism and unease among conservative members of the denomination and within the broader Anglican community.

Recently, a group of conservative Episcopal churches in Virginia broke away from the ECUSA. Most of the congregations that left the denomination will now join with the newly established Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an affiliate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Faith McDonnell, director of the Religious Liberty Program with the Institute on Religion and Democracy, says the Episcopal Church in the United States is in serious trouble. "It's very painful to have this separation," she admits, "but we do believe that God will work everything out for good. We don't know what that will be, but we still do hope and pray that there would be revival in the Episcopal Church."

McDonnell believes more churches throughout the United States will leave the ECUSA in the coming year. She sees only one way of slowing or reversing the current trend: the leaders of the Episcopal Church must return to God's Word.

"There are many wonderful, faithful people within the Episcopal Church who are continuing to stay and trying to bring the faith back into the Episcopal Church," the Institute official observes. "But the denomination itself is making it harder and harder for people," she says.

If the denominational leaders do not change their current tack, and there is no change in the denomination's leadership, McDonnell expects the ECUSA will continue to experience schism and continue to hemorrhage members. She is predicting another tumultuous year for the church.


Allie Martin is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.

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