Anglican church steps back from schism
After days of discussions, the primates of the Anglican church seem to have avoided a split over gay issues.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was one of the authors of a report handed to the conference of senior church representative in Tanzania yesterday that said the American church was complying with instructions not to install any more gay bishops.
The report was critical of the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, for getting involved in the affairs of the American church.
Gay Anglicans welcomed the findings.
Colin Coward, an English priest from gay group Changing Attitude, said: “We are very pleased and delighted.
“The archbishops have come up with a surprisingly realistic assessment of the reality of life in the communion for gay and lesbian people,” he said, reports The Guardian.
In June 2006, the US Anglican (Episcopal) church agreed on a watered-down version of a proposal which would have banned the appointment of gay clergy.
The denomination’s General Convention instead agreed to “exercise restraint” in ordaining gay bishops, as part of an effort to amend rifts within the Anglican Church after the appointment of gay bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson in 2003.
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The African Anglican Church expressed dismay at the decisions which ignored most of the recommendations of the Windsor Report, which aimed to mend rifts between the church over the gay issue.
But the latest report says the American church is doing what was asked.
The primates are now discussing what further steps they would like the American church to take, especially on the contentious issue of blessing gay partnerships.
Conservatives are angry at the report. They had wanted to create a parallel second church in America outside the jurisdiction of presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Eight conservative Anglican bishops in the US have already created a rival network that does not recognise the authority of Jefferts Schori, with the blessing of Archbishop Akinola.
“It’s a really poor report. It is shocking that a report like this could have been written at this stage. It’s way too soft,” Dr Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of South Carolina, said, reports The Guardian.