Episcopalians in south-central Illinois made their diocese the third one in the U.S. to secede from the Episcopal Church and align itself with a conservative Argentina-based Anglican province.

At the same time, the breakaway Diocese of Pittsburgh elected Bishop Robert Duncan, who was booted from the U.S. church this summer for leading his diocese out of the Episcopal Church, as its new leader.

The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy voted Friday (Nov. 7) to sever all ties with the U.S. church and, like Pittsburgh and the Fresno, Calif.-based Diocese of San Joaquin, align itself with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

The Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, which like Quincy does not ordain women clergy, is also expected to withdraw and seek oversight from the Southern Cone.

"The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs," said Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

"We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, … of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys. May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith."

The Quincy diocese had long been one of the most conservative in the U.S. church, and the vote to secede was not unexpected. Like other traditionalists, the Quincy diocese opposed the 2003 election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, and accuses the national church of a leftward theological drift.

Lay and clergy delegates in Quincy overwhelmingly approved the secession resolutions, which accused the national church of failure to "uphold the teaching and authority of Holy Scripture" and refusing to "conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican faith."

Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone has appointed the Rev. Ed den Blaauwen to serve as vicar general in Quincy, according to Episcopal News Service. The former bishop of Quincy, Keith Ackerman, abruptly resigned on Nov. 1, citing ill health.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Duncan was re-elected to lead his former diocese, which had voted Oct. 4 to realign with the Southern Cone. Duncan is also head of the Anglican Communion Network, a loose-knit umbrella group for conservative Episcopalians.

"It's good to be back," Duncan said, according to Episcopal News Service. "The most important thing now is to move beyond our conflict with the leadership of the Episcopal Church and turn all of our energies toward living as Christians and effectively sharing the good news of God's love and mercy for all people in the places God has put us."

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The Associated Press also reported on Quincy's decision to secede.

Christianity Today has a special section on the Anglican division and more coverage on the liveblog. Recent stories on the division include "Defending the Faith" and the "Comeback Bishop."