A Maryland Episcopal church has announced a decision to switch teams.
The congregation at St Luke's Episcopal parish have been accepted into the Roman Catholic Church.
The Episcopal Church was formerly a part of the Anglican Communion. Nationally, the Anglican church has been in turmoil over its decision to ordain women and gays.
The church at Bladensburg said that debate played a part in its decision. "The parish is responding to what they feel is a call from the Holy Spirit that this is God’s will for them," the church said in a release. "As the rector put it, discussions within the Episcopal Church over a variety of theological issues were not of themselves the reason for this decision, but they helped lead the rector and parish community to consider more deeply their beliefs on topics such as apostolic authority."
In 2009, as the issues of gay and female ordination were causing division in Anglican congregations, Pope Benedict XVI issued an invitation to Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church.
St. Luke's is the first parish in the United States to accept the invitation.
The current pastor, Fr. Mark Lewis, is undergoing an expedited process to become a Catholic priest. The agreement with the Archdiocese of Washington will allow St. Luke's to retain many of its Anglican traditions.
As far as the property is concerned, St. Luke's said it will continue to lease the grounds, with the option to eventually buy.