Features

Anglicans in crisis

National

Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

With the worldwide 77-million-member largely conservative Anglican Communion tottering at the edge of schism over homosexuality issues, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and other leaders commissioned a report to find compromise. Instead its October release dumped fuel on the fire, calling on the predominantly liberal 2.4-million-member U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA) to "express regret" for installing an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as a bishop and for sanctioning same-sex blessings in some dioceses. The report called for a temporary moratorium on any further such actions. But it failed to discipline ECUSA, as conservatives had urged. ECUSA presiding bishop Frank Griswold-Bishop Robinson's chief consecrator-expressed "regret" at the uproar but declined to take responsibility for it.

Come February, when the heads of the world's Anglican bodies gather to discuss the report, it may be the conservatives' turn for regret. Many bishops in the global south, which contains the largest and fastest-growing segments of the church, already have broken ties with the shrinking ECUSA. Without true repentance and discipline, they warn, they will split from the communion.

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