The presiding bishops of Argentina, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, and Sydney, Australia--as well as delegates sent by other bishops--attended the service in suburban Philadelphia. They object to the practice by the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, of ordaining active homosexuals and allowing clergy to bless same-sex unions.
Some 70 youths and adults were confirmed at the service, led by Archbishop Maurice Sinclair of Argentina, at the Church of the Good Shepherd here.
Among them was 18-year-old Emily Lugo, who said she was "really honored to be a part of this."
"It's encouraging to know that there are other churches as conservative as we are," she said.Bishop Charles Bennison of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, who attended the service, said he met with Sinclair on Saturday.
"We just exchanged pleasantries really," Bennison said. "I think he was more interested in presenting the issues over which the church is divided than I was."
In July, Episcopalians meeting in Denver voted overwhelmingly to recognize committed, monogamous relationships by those who are not married--which would include homosexual couples. They also permitted bishops to ordain homosexual men and women, and local clergy to bless same-sex unions without fear of reprisal.
However, churches outside North America and Western Europe generally embrace traditional sexual morals.
A 1998 meeting of the world's Anglican and Episcopal bishops gave 88 percent approval to a declaration that homosexual behavior is "incompatible with Scripture."
In February 1999, leaders of Anglican branches in Africa, Australia, the Mideast, Latin America and Asia sent a letter beseeching the U.S. Episcopal Church to obey that declaration.
The foreign archbishops have asked "for an end to the secularizing trends and false teachings" in the American Episcopal Church.
The Rev. David Moyer, the rector at the Church of the Good Shepherd and North American president of the conservative Forward in Faith movement, has said Sunday's service was not calculated to cause a schism in the American church.
Anglican tradition frowns on foreign intervention into the affairs of a national church, but Bennison had said he was letting the confirmation proceed to avoid an ugly scene.