The archbishop of Canterbury called recently for a diminished role for the Episcopal Church, which has ordained openly gay bishops who are in same sex relationships.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, which is comprised by more than 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches worldwide in over 160 countries.
Williams said the recent Episcopal ordination in Los Angeles of Rev. Mary Glasspool, who is in a 19-year same sex relationship, would further divide the denomination, according to CNN.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams called recently for a diminished role for the Episcopal Church, which has ordained openly gay bishops who are in same sex relationships.
Glasspool’s ordination follows that of Gene Robinson in New Hampshire in 2004. Robinson was involved in a same sex relationship at the time he was ordained.
In his recent missive Williams noted, “Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation,” The Telegraph reported.
According to Williams, “There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round,” according to The Telegraph.
In his five page statement, Williams urged affiliated organizations such as the Episcopal Church, national and regional churches that broke agreed-upon “moratoria” or “promises” to step down from participating in interfaith dialogues; and relinquish decision-making powers in a committee that deals with issues of doctrine and authority, CNN reported.
The “moratoria” refers to promises that were laid out by the Communion leadership after Robinson’s (the gay bishop in New Hampshire) consecration in 2004, according to The Telegraph.
These promises include not ordaining clergy in same sex relationships, no blessing same-sex unions in church and no making “cross-border” interventions, ergo no bishop authorizing any ministry within the diocese of another bishop without explicit permission, according to The Telegraph.
Glasspool was only recently ordained, after the 2004 moratoria had been issued.
Bishop Ian Douglas of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut said Williams’ statement merely affirmed the moratoria, and referred to other churches, not just the Episcopal Church in the U.S., according to CNN.
Douglas said the statement expresses “How we’re trying to live with our differences with integrity and not alienate one another. I’m still convinced there’s so much more that unites us,” according to CNN.
Conservatives feel that Williams’ statement was not strong enough. Robert Lundy of the American Anglican Council said the statement only keeps the Episcopal Church off some—not all–committees within the Communion, CNN said.
Williams has been getting pressure from both sides. Conservative Anglicans have long urged Williams to punish the Episcopal Church by not inviting them to the Lambeth Conference, a global meeting of Anglican leaders held every decade, CNN said.