In Canada, bishops of the Anglican Church are deferring requests to approve blessings of same-sex unions, while in the United States two more dioceses have seceded from the Episcopal Church.
Anglican bishops say they are unlikely to act on requests from several dioceses to approve blessings for same-sex unions or marriages, deferring the issue until the church’s General Synod in 2010.
At least four dioceses have asked for permission to bless same-sex relationships in Canada, where same-sex civil marriages were legalized in 2005. Those moves, along with similar action by the Episcopal Church, have angered more conservative members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The bishops also agreed, under pressure from the larger Anglican Communion, to continue a moratorium on electing any openly gay or lesbian bishops. They said they would continue to resist any “cross-border interventions” by conservative groups who seek to minister to the church's minority traditionalist wing.
In the meantime, Episcopalians in south-central Illinois (Quincy diocese) and in Fort Worth, Texas, voted to secede from the Episcopal Church and join the conservative Anglican province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina. That makes four U.S. dioceses that have seceded.
Fort Worth and Quincy are the only two of 110 Episcopal Church dioceses that do not allow women to be ordained.
In Fort Worth, five of 56 congregations and an estimated 4,000 of its 19,000 members will remain with the church. A legal battle over ownership of church property is expected.