Top bishop: Anglican fellowship is strong

first_imgRELIGION: Church leaders are discussing their differences, such as acceptance of gays. By Rachel Zoll THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW ORLEANS – The archbishop of Canterbury indicated Friday that the Episcopal Church isn’t on the brink of losing its place in the world Anglican fellowship, despite the uproar over Episcopal support for gay clergy. Anglican leaders, called primates, had set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for gay couples. Episcopal bishops have dedicated their meeting here to crafting a response. But after two days of private talks with Episcopal leaders, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, said “there is no ultimatum involved.” The goal, he said, is “compromise.” “It’s been presented, sadly, as a set of demands,” Williams said in a news conference before he left. “I don’t think that what was in the primates’ minds. In fact, I’m sure it isn’t.” The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States and has a more liberal view of Scripture than most Anglicans overseas. Tensions over Bible interpretation erupted in 2003, when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. For four years, Anglican leaders have held emergency summits and private negotiations, trying to prevent differences over homosexuality from shattering the Anglican Communion. There were moments of tension in the closed-door discussions. Bishops have said that Williams pressed them to make some concessions for the sake of Anglican unity. As bishops took turns addressing Williams, Robinson said he found some of the archbishop’s comments on the decision before the church “dehumanizing” to gays and lesbians. “I have always held the archbishop of Canterbury in high regard, and I will continue to do so,” Robinson said. Egypt Bishop Mouneer Anis told the bishops that their decision to consecrate Robinson created “one of the most difficult disputes in the communion in our generation.” “If you appreciate being members of the global Anglican family, then you have to walk alongside the members of your family,” Anis said. Yet no one expects Episcopal leaders to reverse course. Theological conservatives are a minority in the denomination, and some wish to stay in the church. Williams will work with Anglican leaders and with members of the Anglican Consultative Council, an international lay-clergy panel, in evaluating whatever statement Episcopal bishops make before they end their gathering Tuesday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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