Dallas Episcopalians Comtemplate Break

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As a moderate Episcopalian in the conservative Diocese of Dallas, Dixie Hutchinson doesn't find her strength in numbers.

But she may soon find herself even more isolated as the debate over the Bible and gay relationships tears at the church.

Dallas Bishop James Stanton is among the leaders of seven Episcopal dioceses who have denied the authority of the incoming national Episcopal leader -- Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The rejection is prompted partly by Jefferts Schori's support for gay relationships.

It falls just short of a complete break -- but in October, Dallas-area Episcopalians will meet to more fully consider their future in the denomination. The six other dissenting dioceses -- including the Fort Worth diocese -- are having similar internal debates.

And even though the Diocese of Dallas is overwhelmingly conservative, anxiety about what's ahead is apparent throughout its
77 churches.

Christ Church Episcopal in suburban Plano is one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the country with about 22-hundred worshippers
per weekend. But it's not waiting for the fall diocesan convention -- it has already announced plans to leave The Episcopal Church.

Splitting from the national leaders would create spiritual orphans throughout the region -- including moderates and liberals who may have to leave the churches where they've worshipped for years.