Leaders of the 75-million member Anglican Communion said Oct. 16 that Episcopal policies on homosexuality could "tear the fabric of our communion at its deepest level."
The 37 Anglican primates (heads of churches throughout the communion) rebuked, but did not discipline, the Episcopal Church, U.S.A, for its confirmation of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. The leaders said the installation of the bishop-elect, who lives in a committed gay relationship, would put the Anglican Communion's future in jeopardy.
The primates also rebuked a Canadian Anglican diocese for allowing the blessing of committed gay relationships, restating a declaration from the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops that homosexual sex is "incompatible with Scripture."
"These actions threaten the unity of our own communion as well as our relationships with other parts of Christ's church, our mission and witness, and our relations with other faiths, in a world confused in areas of sexuality, morality and theology," the primates stated.
The primates established a 12-month commission to advise them on how to proceed and to examine the ties that bind the communion's 38 churches.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said he stands "fully behind the careful process used by the Diocese of New Hampshire to discern who it wished to have as its bishop." At presstime, the New Hampshire diocese said it would consecrate Robinson Nov. 2 and that "God has called him to this ministry."
The American Anglican Council, a traditionalist U.S. group, said the primates' statement was "a clear repudiation" of Robinson's confirmation and his withdrawal may be the only way to maintain Anglican unity.
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