Anglican-Episcopal Split on the Horizon

Timothy Kincaid

July 27th, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to the action taken by the Episcopal Church to allow ordination of gay bishops and celebration of same-sex unions. (The Guardian)

The archbishop of Canterbury today reiterated his opposition to ordaining gay clergy and authorising same-sex blessings, warning liberal churches that such practices would lead to isolation and relegation in the Anglican communion.

Rowan Williams was responding in a statement today to developments in the US Episcopal church which earlier this month voted to open the ordination process to gay people and to consider developing blessings for same-sex couples.

Williams is envisioning a resulting two-tier church: those who are “good” Anglicans and obey the demands of exclusion and repression of gay Christians coming from the African and Asian churches, and those who are secondary churches who offer inclusion to gays and thus are not allowed to participate fully in communion matters and in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.

This is likely to be as acceptable to the Episcopal Church as it would be to anyone else. So it looks like this is the beginning of the end of a world-wide Anglican Communion.

Richard W. Fitch

July 27th, 2009

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori has pledged on many occasions not to allow the shunning practiced by Third-World provinces to influence EC-USA’s support of the Anglican Communion. The USA and Canadian Provinces contribute at least one-third of the monetary underwriting for the whole church. However, if ++Rowan decides to create a two-tier structure, it will doubtlessly be short-lived. The Americans will tolerant criticism and disdain – but the outcome of any second-class membership will quickly result in an American/Canadian church independent of the ++Bishop, the Crown and the tyrants of Nigeria, Uganda and the Southern Cone.


July 27th, 2009

Good riddance. There’s no room for such cowardice. How can one proclaim to be a moral leader with such a pithy, accommodating stance to sheer ignorance?


July 28th, 2009

It’s important NOT to position this as the American and Canadian Church vs. the Rest of the Anglican Communion. These fissures are found in the UK itself, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

My former parish in New Zealand openly advertises that they do same sex blessings.

The “sin” of the U.S. and Canadian churches is that they have debated this on a national level and come to a national decision. The other national churches are content to look the other way while gay friendly churches bless same sex unions and gay bishops are consecrated with the proviso that they shut up.

So it’s hard to gauge what kind of split will occur. There is little appetite in most of the developed world to split with the American and Canadian churches and give the Nigerians and Ugandan MORE influence.

Richard W. Fitch

July 28th, 2009

@toujoursdan: Some of us in the American provinces contend that what you have observed is the very core of the problem. The issue becomes whether gay-friendly parishes and dioceses in ‘non-third-world’ provinces will muster the integrity to be more vocal to their leaders and begin leveraging them to stand with the Americas rather than sitting complacent on the sidelines. The Nigerian bishop has already created a major division (if not schism) in the US by defying the PB and ++Rowan and establishing foreign counter-dioceses. Despite all the furor, I would hold that Bishop Robinson has shown that at least a significant number of parishioners in EC-USA find no conflict between his male-partnered status and his gifts as a bishop.

Richard W. Fitch

July 28th, 2009

Another thought: It would be quite ironic if the Anglican Communion divested itself of the liberal westerners, becoming the largest fundamentalist ‘christian’ body in the world.


July 29th, 2009

As I posted on the Guardian in response:

“As a member of the Episcopal Church of the United States, my ONLY comment to His Grace the Archbishop is this – ‘Been nice knowing you – don’t let the door hit you in the bum on the way out!’

The American Episcopal Church SEPARATED from The Church of England in 1789 (ya know, when us rebels kicked your royal butts out of our country). As such, what the Archbishop has to say ABOUT ANYTHING WE DO does not mean a tossed fig to us.

As far as the African Anglican Church, the bulk of your money comes from the American Episcopal Church – we will GLADLY keep that in the divorce.”

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