Southern Episcopal Church
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The Southern Episcopal Church (SEC) is an American religious group, established in Nashville, Tennessee in 1962 in reaction to liberal political and theological trends within the Episcopal Church USA. SEC was founded by Burnice Hoyle Webster, a physician turned clergyman, and a number of former members of the Episcopal Church USA. Webster became the SEC's first presiding bishop. The SEC now considers itself a "Continuing Anglican" church, though the founding of the SEC preceded the start of the Continuing Anglican Movement by over a decade.
The SEC did not consider itself a new denomination, but rather as providing a church home for Episcopalians who wished to maintain their Anglican faith and traditions while reaching out to other conservatives, a position often espoused by other Continuing Anglican groups. The SEC uses only the 1928 Book of Common Prayer for its liturgy and the King James Version of the Bible for all public readings of the scripture.
The first missionary bishop for the SEC was Earle Robert LeBaron of Pensacola, Florida, who was consecrated on 7 January 1968 at the Church of the Redeemer, Knoxville, Tennessee, by Webster and Bishop O. J. Woodward.
The SEC claims congregations in Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Canada, Ireland, and India. The exact number of clergy is unknown. The current presiding bishop is William Martin Sloane.
In 2008, Sloane was consecrated a bishop of the "Christ Catholic Church, Diocese of Boston". He had previously been a priest and pastor in the Southern Episcopal Church. The consecrating bishops were the SEC's Huron Manning, Charles George Fry of the SEC, Robert W. Hotes of the SEC (and also of the Lutheran Church - International), and several bishops of the Christ Catholic Church. The board of directors of the Christ Catholic Church, Diocese of Boston then voted for Sloane to be the CCC/DoB's archbishop and for the "CCC/DoB to function as a diocese of the SEC/USA". The Christ Catholic Church considers itself to be "Orthodox-Catholic" in belief. It affirms the Real Presence and the Seven Sacraments. Worship is conducted according to any of the historic liturgies, including the traditional Roman Catholic Mass, the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox churches, or a Roman Catholic version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The liturgy can be in either English or Latin.
There is one unaccredited online seminary, Holy Trinity College and Seminary, which offers classes by external studies.[failed verification] It operates out of addresses in Clearwater, Florida, and Springfield, Missouri.
- Southern Episcopal Church website
- Anglicans Online! "Not In Communion" Lists the Southern Episcopal Church and other churches that have formed outside the Anglican Communion
- Adherents.com and Adherents.com reporting estimates of the denomination's size from different sources. Estimates are not current.