A California diocese of the Episcopal Church has taken a major step toward breaking with the US church because of its position on issues, including homosexuality.
Clergy and lay representatives at the yearly convention of the 10000-member Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday voted 176-28 in favour of the step, said The Reverend Van McCalister.
If the measure passes again next year, it would allow for the development of a new church that officials say would break from the leadership of the new head of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, while remaining part of the worldwide Anglican Church.
Jefferts Schori, 52, condones the blessings of gay relationships and supported the church's 2003 consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.
"Homosexuality is just one symptom of how the church has lowered its view," said McCalister. -- Reuters