Episcopal Diocese of Newark avoids church rift over gays, appoints new bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark chose a priest with ties to the community to lead as bishop on Saturday, rather than an openly gay priest.

The Reverend Mark Beckwith of Massachusetts, won 53 percent of the votes, or 253 ballots, cast by clergy and lay representatives. Beckwith previously worked in the Newark diocese in Morristown and Hackensack. He beat out openly gay priest Canon Michael Barlowe from California. Beckwith will replace Bishop John Palmer Croneberger, who is resigning to spend more time with his ill wife.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. representative of the worldwide Anglican community. A feud erupted between the two after the Episcopal Church appointed its first gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Beckwith still needs to be approved nationally.

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