[St. Ptetersburg Times] 9 Nov 2007--Six churches in the Diocese of Central Florida, which has 44,000 members and stretches from Citrus County to Vero Beach, recently announced plans to sever ties with the Episcopal Church and the diocese. Two church affiliates also plan to break away. The move brings the debate closer to the Tampa Bay area, home to 33,000 Episcopalians.
Why did the Central Florida churches decide to leave?
The controversy stems from the Episcopal Church's decision to consecrate the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop in 2003, and bless same-sex marriages. For many Episcopalians, the 2006 election of the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop further splintered the denomination. She also voted to confirm Robinson. And some Episcopalians take issue with her for refusing to state that Jesus is the only way to God.