NOTTINGHAM, England -- The US Episcopal Church yesterday affirmed its support for gay clergy and appealed for the issue not to split the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion.
''We believe that God has been opening our eyes to acts of God that we had not known how to see before," the church said in a document prepared for the Anglican Consultative Council. It affirmed ''the eligibility for ordination of those in covenanted same-sex unions."
Some Anglican conservatives said that stance made a schism inevitable.
''There's going to be a divorce," said the Rev. Canon David Anderson, president of the traditionalist American Anglican Council. ''The question is whether it's going to be a strictly North American divorce or whether it's going to be Communionwide."
The issue of homosexuality has opened a rift between Anglican liberals, many of them in North America, and conservatives, who are strongest in Africa and Asia but include many North American traditionalists. Many fear it is unbridgeable.
Official church policy declares gay sex ''incompatible with scripture" and opposes gay ordinations and same-sex blessings.