AMBRIDGE, Pa. (AP) - A conservative U.S. priest who was consecrated a bishopin Singapore without authorization from America's Episcopal Church maintainsthat he followed proper procedures because he is no longer part of thatdenomination.

John H. Rodgers Jr., former dean and adjunct professor at a seminary inAmbridge, explained in a telephone interview that his Episcopal bishop inPittsburgh transferred his clergy credentials to the Anglican province ofSoutheast Asia in which he became a bishop Jan. 29. The Episcopal Church isthe recognized U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican faith.

He said South Carolina's bishop transferred credentials of a second new U.S.bishop consecrated in the same rite, Charles H. Murphy III, to his newarchdiocese in Rwanda.

Rodgers said he and Murphy are now "in effect missionary bishops providingemergency pastoral care," assigned by the Asian and African Anglicans toserve Americans who want to remain Anglican but believe the Episcopal Churchhas become too liberal in doctrine. Acceptance of homosexual couples andclergy is the most pressing of several issues.

"We are Anglicans, but not Episcopalians," said Rodgers.

Rodgers said the timing of the ceremony was set to precede a March 23-28meeting of leaders of the Anglicans' 38 independent branches, which willinclude the Singapore and Rwanda archbishops who consecrated Rodgers andMurphy and the leader of the Episcopal Church, who has criticized theactions.

"A number felt it would be helpful to underline the seriousness of theproblem that needs to be faced," Rodgers said.

Meanwhile, three prelates this week issued statements expressing dismay atthe consecration. Richard Harry Goodhew, archbishop of Sydney; David LeoMtetemela, archbishop of Tanzania; and Maurice W. Sinclair, presiding bishopof six South American dioceses, wrote: "We regret that pressures upontraditionalists within the Episcopal Church in the United States should haveaccumulated to the point at which two primates, whom we hold in esteem, feltcompelled to take this present action ...We are disappointed that ourfriends acted against our clear advice."

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