Friday, 5 December 2008

Emergency summit in London to discuss US schism

Five senior Anglican Archbishops flew into London on Thursday for an emergency summit with the Archbishop of Canterbury tomorrow to discuss the unfolding schism in the American church.

The meeting between Dr Rowan Williams and the primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the Southern Cone comes two days after conservatives in the US unveiled the constitution and canons of the new Anglican Church in North America.

With a membership of 100,000 drawn from The Episcopal Church of the US and from traditional Anglican churches that broke off in earlier disputes over women’s ordination, leaders of the new “province” claim they are not breaking away from the 75-million strong worldwide Anglican Communion.

A formal proposal arguing for recognition as the 39th province of the Anglican Communion will be put before the primates at their meeting in Alexandria, Egypt at the end of January.

However, a statement from Lambeth Palace last night made it clear that no request for recognition as a province had been made and seemed to indicate that this was unlikely.

Lambeth Palace said there are “clear guidelines” set out for the creation of new provinces.

“Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete,” the Palace said, making it clear that in the case of the US conservatives no such process had begun.

The new church remains relatively small compared to the 2.2 million members of The Episcopal Church, which sparked the crisis in 2003 with the consecration of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire, the Right Rev Gene Robinson. Read more
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