(RNS) Evangelical pastor Rick Warren has offered to open the campus of his California megachurch to conservative Anglicans who have broken with the Episcopal Church.
Warren, a best-selling author and prominent preacher, wrote to 30 Anglican leaders on Friday (Jan. 9), days after California’s Supreme Court ruled that Episcopal churches that break with their denomination are not entitled to keep church property.
“We stand in solidarity with them,” Warren wrote in an e-mail posted online by Christianity Today, “and with all orthodox, evangelical Anglicans. I offer the campus of Saddleback Church to any Anglican congregation who need (sic) a place to meet, or if you want to plant a new congregation in south Orange County.”
Warren’s letter was intended to be private, said spokeswoman Kristin Cole. She said she did not know if any Anglicans have taken Warren up on his offer.
Warren, a Southern Baptist, has built ties to conservative Anglican leaders, including prominent archbishops in Africa, over the last several years. In 2005, he spoke at a conference for conservative Anglicans in Pittsburgh.
In 2003, the Episcopal Church consecrated V. Gene Robinson, a openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire, precipitating a clash between liberals and conservatives in the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion of which it is part.
The Episcopal Church is battling dozens of congregations that have left the denomination to join African and South American branches of the Anglican Communion over church property.
Warren said the Episcopal Church “already considered me an adversary after partnering on projects” with conservative bishops from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Warren also said that “I’ve been on Gene Robinson and other’s (sic) attack list for my position on gay marriage.”
Warren advocated for the passage of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California. President-elect Barack Obama has invited both Robinson and Warren to offer prayers at his inaugural ceremonies.