Church Remains Split

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Bishop Duncan Gray, III, said Mississippi Episcopalians are still deeply divided over the confirmation of a gay bishop and the church's recognition of same-sex unions. But, he says, the diocese showed unity in their recent refusal to condemn the national church's actions.

The diocese, in its annual council last weekend in Hattiesburg, declined to pass a resolution formally condemning last year's consecration of openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson and the national church's recognition of gay marriages.

Gray acknowledged members were split on the issues, causing a few to leave the church and others to push to withhold money in protest. But, he said, the council confirmed that there can be disagreement within the diocese while still supporting the church's mission.

The council, instead of a condemnation, passed a substitute resolution that acknowledges "there are faithful members who are concerned, upset, encouraged, heartened, jubilant or angered'' over Robinson's confirmation and the stance on same-sex unions. The resolution urged Episcopalians to pray for healing in the church.