3rd Episcopal Diocese Splits From National Church

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QUINCY, Ill. – A third conservative diocese is splitting from the liberal Episcopal Church in a long-running dispute over the Bible, gay relationships and other issues.

The Diocese of Quincy voted to leave the national denomination during an annual meeting that ends Saturday.

It joins dioceses in Fresno, Calif., and Pittsburgh. A fourth diocese, in Fort Worth, Texas, will decide next weekend whether to follow suit.

The secessions are a response to decades of debate over what Episcopalians should believe. Tensions erupted in 2003 when the denomination consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The head of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, says she laments the departure.