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The slow schism in the Episcopal denomination continues following denominational endorsement of same-sex sex. From Virginia this news.

Leaders of two of Virginia's most historic Episcopal parishes have voted to split from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia, a move that could spark a legal battle over millions of dollars' worth of property.

And from Ohio this story. Two more Presbyterian congregation vote to leave the PC(USA), which has been in turmoil for over two decades because of several issues, including same-sex practice.

Two area congregations have voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The pastors of Stow Presbyterian and Hudson Presbyterian churches said the decision to break away from the denomination came after much prayer and deliberation.

Mainline denominations (by million members) Statistics from Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, via USA Today.

United Methodist Church
1995: 8.5
2004: 8.2
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
1995: 5.2
2004: 4.9
Presbyterian Church (USA)
1995: 3.7
2004: 3.2
Episcopal Church
1995: 2.5
2004: 2.3
Disciples of Christ
1995: .93
2004: .74
American Baptist Churches
1995: 1.5
2004: 1.4
United Church of Christ
1995: 1.5
2004: 1.3

The North Texas Association (NTA) of the United Church of Christ (my old association when I served a conservative UCC church near Waco 94-05) has voted to receive into membership the 4300 member Cathedral of Hope. The official UCC site has a postive report.

The Cathedral of Hope touts itself as "the world's largest liberal Christian church with a primary outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people." Briefly, the congregation is open and affirming of same-sex sex and marriage.

The NTA had been a conservative hold-out in the denomination, but the dwindling numbers of conservative rural congregations gave priority of leadership to a few congregations in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area strongly supportive of same-sex sex and marriage. Now the transformation is complete, since Cathedral of Hope will be far and away the largest congregation in the association, indeed the 4th largest in the denomination. Some of the congregations in central Texas, and a few in the Metroplex probably will consider leaving the denomination.

Prior to the vote, the national office of Biblical Witness Fellowship, a network of conservative UCC congregations, expressed reasons to be hesitant in admitting Cathedral of Hope (in addition to their theology). below

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