Friday, 2 November 2007

Schism plans develop after U.S. meeting

The split between liberal and conservative Anglicans grew wider in September as bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church reaffirmed their denomination’s more-inclusive stance on homosexuality and a breakaway group of bishops moved to form a “new ecclesiastical structure” in North America.

About 150 Episcopal Church bishops met in New Orleans from Sept. 20 to 25, along with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, several primates (national archbishops from other countries) and members of the international Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). At the end of their meeting, the American bishops issued a statement that they said was the best expression of a position on which all present could agree. (Several conservative bishops had left the meeting early.)

It reiterated decisions made by the church’s governing body, the General Convention, which pledged to “exercise restraint” by not agreeing to the consecration of bishops “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.”

They acknowledged that “non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom (the resolution) pertains.” They also pledged “as a body not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.”

The vote essentially maintained the status quo in the Episcopal Church and represented a rejection of calls from some primates for a stronger stance in favour of the view that the Bible bars gay relationships. Read more
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