A pair of American bishops have joined Kenya’s conservative Anglican Church after the U.S. Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay bishop.

William Murdoch of Massachusetts and Bill Atwood of Texas were consecrated at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobu by Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.

Although they will answer to the Kenyan Church, they will continue to serve in the U.S.

The ordinations are just the latest examples of the schism developing between members of the Anglican Church over homosexuality. Last year, two U.S. churches placed themselves under the authority of the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria because of the Episcopal Church’s stance on homosexuality. Earlier this year, Anglican bishops meeting in Tanzania issued an ultimatum to the American church, demanding an end to the appointment of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex couples. U.S. bishops have until the end of September to respond.

According to BBC News, Nzimbi said the consecration was not intended to widen the gulf in the church, but was a Christian response to a plea for help and pastoral care from Anglicans in the U.S. Gay people, he added, did not have a place as leaders in the Anglican communion.

“We need to love them, we need to preach to them, but not to make them lay readers, pastors, bishops,” he told the news agency.

More than 30 members of the Church of England’s General Synod appear to agree with Nzimbi and the move made by the American bishops. According to the Times Online, the group sent the pair a message that read: “You will represent vibrant and growing churches in Africa in their love and care for those in the United States who are suffering for their commitment to the faith once delivered to the saints, in the face of a determined capitulation by the Episcopal Church to the forces of contemporary North American culture.”

Chrys Hudson © 2007 GayWired.com; All Rights Reserved.