Ugandan Church Cuts Ties with U.S. Episcopal Church Over Gay Bishop

The Anglican Church of Uganda (search) said Saturday that it has severed ties with the Episcopal Church of the United States (search) for elevating an openly gay man to the rank of bishop.

Uganda's Anglicans initially cut ties only with the New Hampshire Diocese (search) following the Nov. 2 consecration of V. Gene Robinson (search) as that state's Episcopal bishop, the first openly gay man to hold that position in any major Christian denomination.

But 30 Uganda Anglican bishops agreed at a meeting Thursday to sever ties with the entire U.S. Episcopal Church because "any same sex relationship is a disorder of God's creation," said Jackson Turyagyenda, a spokesman for the church in East Africa.

The decision will result in a loss of scholarships and financial aid from the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, although exact figure were not available.

"Dioceses of the Church of Uganda are not going to continue asking for scholarships or financial support from the Episcopal Church," Turyagyenda said.

Robinson's consecration provoked condemnation throughout Africa as well as elsewhere in the world and among more conservative Episcopalians in the United States.

On Nov. 3, overseas bishops who said they represented 50 million of the world's 77 million Anglicans jointly announced that they were in a "state of impaired communion" with the Episcopal Church -- a step short of declaring a full schism. Episcopalians form the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.

The Anglican Church of Uganda is the second largest Anglican community in Africa, representing a third of the country's 24 million people. Only Nigeria's Anglican Church, with 17.5 million members, is larger.