.- A group of Anglicans who have broken from the Episcopal Church have formed a new diocese in the western U.S. to “carry the banner of Anglican orthodoxy.”
The new Diocese of Western Anglicans includes California, Arizona, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Its 21 parishes claim an average Sunday attendance of 2,000 people. According to the California Catholic Daily, the parishes include former Episcopal parishes and some newly formed Anglican parishes.
The parishes formally asked for recognition by the Anglican Church of North America. A new bishop for the diocese will be elected by the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church of North America on June 20 and 21.
Rev. Bill Thompson, rector of All Saints’ Church in Long Beach, California told the Anglican website Virtue Online that his parish’s joining the new province was “a natural move for us.”
“We have moved from a fellowship to a diocese and this will give us a real identity," he said.
Rev. Thompson charged that the Episcopal Church had crossed “a bridge too far” for his fellow Anglicans in its move away from “the ‘faith once delivered’” and its official approval of “behaviors that are contrary to Scripture.”
"It was time to go,” he told Virtue Online. “We realize it is not without pain. There is a cost to discipleship and many of us are paying that price in litigation and more. But we are called to be faithful to our Lord first and foremost."
The clergyman said that whoever becomes bishop of the new diocese will continue as a priest in his parish.
“We are not anticipating setting up an independent diocesan headquarters," he explained.
The Provincial Assembly in June is scheduled to have a ratification vote for a draft constitution for the new diocese, the California Catholic Daily reports.
The draft says the members of the Association of Western Anglican Congregations are all “orthodox Anglican” congregations and hold to the “One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic faith wherein Holy Scriptures contain all doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”