Schism ‘now inevitable’ for Anglican Communion: CEN 12.11.09 p 4. December 23, 2009Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Los Angeles.
The election of Mary Glasspool will likely put the final nail in the coffin of the Anglican Communion, evangelical leaders warn, and end Archbishop Rowan Williams’ hopes that an Anglican Covenant can hold the communion together.
Elected suffragan bishop of Los Angeles on Dec 5, Canon Glasspool is the first openly gay priest elected to the episcopate in the US following that church’s vote in July to end the ban on gay bishops and blessings.
While evangelical leaders have voiced disapproval with her election, the level of discord over her election is far below that of Gene Robinson’s election in 2003. South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence observed that it was bound to happen. “I can’t say it surprises me,” he told the Los Angeles Times, adding that the election would further divide an already crippled church.
“Is there anything that can be done to bridge it? No one has come up with it yet,” Bishop Lawrence said.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen told The Church of England Newspaper the election was “sad but not surprising.”
Its confirmation “will make clear beyond any doubt whatsoever that the TEC [the Episcopal Church] leadership has chosen to walk in a way which is contrary to scripture and will continue to do so,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the GAFCON primates Dr. Jensen Saturday’s vote “confirms the rightness of GAFCON in producing the Jerusalem Declaration and establishing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).”
“The aim of the FCA is to recognise and give fellowship to those who wish to remain faithful to God’s revealed word and also to defend and promote biblical teaching throughout the Communion,” he said, adding that “it is all the more urgent that those who share the aims of the FCA should associate themselves with the movement and express their disapproval of actions which are contrary to scripture and contrary to historic Anglicanism.”
It also gives Dr. Williams “every reason to act decisively and dissociate from the Episcopal Church and to recognise the Anglican Church of North America,” Dr. Jensen said.
The Rev. Rod Thomas of Reform stated that at this point, a “schism is absolutely inevitable” with the communion.
Sydney Bishop Robert Forsyth told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Dec 7 the Anglican Communion “as a united body is now history.”
The election of Canon Glasspool alone did not kill the communion, “it just continues to cement the trajectory towards a restructuring of the Anglican Communion in the world,” he said.
Anglican Mainstream said it was “saddened but not surprised” by the election. “Unless their diocesan bishops and their standing committees decline to endorse the election, it will confirm that TEC had no intention of respecting the mind of the Communion and halting their current trajectory.”
“For any who doubted” the formation of the breakaway Anglican Church in North America was “justified,” this “latest announcement, made in full knowledge of its negative effect on the Communion’s Covenant process, will confirm that TEC, rather than wanting to remain within the Communion’s bonds of affection, is determined to walk away and follow its own path,” Dr Philip Giddings and Canon Chris Sugden said.
Dr. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina observed “this decision represents an intransigent embrace of a pattern of life Christians throughout history and the world have rejected as against biblical teaching.”
“It will add further to the Episcopal Church’s incoherent witness and chaotic common life, and it will continue to do damage to the Anglican Communion and her relationship with our ecumenical partners” he said after the vote on Dec 5.
The greatest damage however, will likely accrue to Dr. Rowan Williams African church leaders tell CEN. The election was not unexpected; “can a leopard change his spots,” one leader said. But those Global South leaders questioned by CEN all spoke of a “profound disappointment” with Dr. Williams’ handling of the crisis, that dates back to the aftermath of the 2007 Dar es Salaam primates meeting.
“I don’t think he completely understands how much trust and good will he lost after his changing of their decisions and the processes they laid out” in Dar es Salaam, a source said. The actions taken by the Global South over the past two years—speaking out, boycotting Lambeth, and breaking fellowship with the Episcopal Church have not had any effect.
The Episcopal Church will not stop, and Dr. Williams will not act, he said.
“The best the provinces can do that care about this is to find like-minded provinces, link up together, and carry on, and leave the others behind,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on behalf of his primate said. “I think that’s called schism.”