The archbishop of Canterbury has told Episcopal Church leaders in this country that he does not recognize the emerging splinter church that has split with the Episcopal Church in this country.
Following a transatlantic telephone conversation with the archbishop, Presiding Bishop John M. Allin of the Episcopal Church stated that the spiritual leader of 46.7 million Anglicans worldwide agrees that the new schismatic church "is not in communion with the see of Canterbury."
Bishop Allin's conversation with Dr. Donald Coggan, archbishop of Canterbury, followed the unauthorized consecration in Denver 10 days ago of four bishops for the break-away church.
The new church body, tentatively called the Anglican Church in North America, has split with both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over issues such as ordination of women to the priesthood, liturgical changes and church involvement in social issues.
Despite the disavowal of the new group by Dr. Coggan, the four newly consecrated bishops plan to England this summer and seek admission to the Lambeth Conference in July. The conference of bishops of Anglican churches throughout the world is held every 10 years.
The Rt. Rev. James Mote of Denver, one of the four dissident bishops, said yesterday that he did not expect to be invited to Lambeth by the archbishop, but added that "we have had word from several bishops in two countries" that they will demand the seating of the four Americans.
he refused to name the bishops or the countries.
Bishop Allin reported on his conversation with the archbishop of Canterbury in a letter to all bishops of the church.
In his letter, he urged the bishops to "make certain that the door is kept open to those who might wish to return to communion with us after an initial decision to leave the Episcopal Church."
Bishop Allin also said that he had had a cable from the Most Rev. Macario Ga, supreme bishop of the Philippine Independent Church. A bishop from that church, the Rt. Rev. Francisco J. Pagtakhan, was one of the consecrating bishops at the Denver rite.
Bishop Ga cabled Bishop Allin that he was "shocked and distressed" by the involvement of Bishop Pagtakhan in the unauthorized Denver consecrations, adding that the participation by the junior bishop had not been authorized by the Philippine church.
The Philippine Independent Church split from the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Spanish-American War. Some years later, it established formal relations with the Episcopal Church in the country, but it is not a part of the worldwide Anglican communion.
Leaders of the break-away Anglican Church in North America continue to be vague about the numbers of their followers. In a telephone interview yesterday. Bishop Mote said there were 23 parishes in his diocese, by far the largest of the five which make up the new church. But he said he had "no idea" of how many members there were.
His tally of 23 parishes includes some with fewer than 10 members.
Leaders of the breakaway movement generally respond to questions on numerical strength as Bishop Mote did yesterday wheh he said. "We're growing so fast we can't keep track."