The question this article suggests to me is: Who gets to decide where "the center" is?
Religion in the News
By MATT CURRY
The Associated Press
Friday, August 25, 2006; 7:04 AM
DALLAS -- As a moderate Episcopalian in the conservative Diocese of Dallas, Dixie Hutchinson doesn't find her strength in numbers.
"Nobody around here would elect me to anything," she says.
Soon, she may find herself even more isolated.
Dallas Bishop James M. Stanton is among the leaders of seven Episcopal dioceses who have rejected the authority of the denomination's incoming national leader, Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, as the debate over the Bible and gay relationships tears at the church.
The move, prompted partly by Jefferts Schori's support for gay relationships, falls just short of a complete break. But in October, Dallas-area Episcopalians will meet to more fully consider their future in the denomination.
The six other dissenting dioceses _ Central Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Pittsburgh; Springfield, Ill., and South Carolina _ are having similar internal debates. And even though the Diocese of Dallas is overwhelmingly conservative, anxiety about what's ahead is apparent throughout its 77 churches.
Christ Church Episcopal in suburban Plano, one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the country with about 2,200 worshippers each weekend, is not waiting for the fall diocesan convention; it has already announced plans to leave The Episcopal Church.
Via Media Dallas, which represents liberals and moderates including Hutchinson who want to remain part of the denomination, issued a statement from 15 local priests who say they will not participate in any "disassociation" from the actions and leadership of the church.
Splitting from the national leaders would create spiritual orphans throughout the region _ moderates and liberals who may have to leave the churches where they worshipped for years.
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