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US church fractures over vote: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 4, 2003 September 4, 2003

Posted by geoconger in 74th General Convention, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America fractured last week when its House of Bishops affirmed the election of a practising homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire. Whether called “schism” or “impaired communion”, the American Church also formally altered its relationship to the wider Anglican Communion when its House of Bishops affirmed the election of a non-celibate homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire.

Immediately following the vote of 63 to 45 in favour of the affirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and 22 other bishops rose and stood before the House announcing their disassociation with the vote.

Bishop Duncan stated: “You cannot imagine my grief, or the grief of many, many people. … Those who rejoice at this moment will, I pray, at least understand what has been stolen from us: unity with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ecumenically; unity with our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion across the globe; unity with the faith once delivered to the Saints.”

Bishop Duncan stated that he and his colleagues were appealing to the Primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in the affairs of the American Church and rescue it from apostasy and heresy.

Following Bishop Duncan’s statement, Bishop Griswold dismissed the House. Bishop Duncan that evening told The Church of England Newspaper that the Robinson vote rendered all actions of the Minneapolis Convention were “null and void” as “the ancient rule of the Church” was that one error of doctrine made by a Synod rendered all its actions void.

When asked whether he was concerned about the reaction of the rest of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Griswold dismissed concerns of schism or ruptured communion. He conceded he valued his relationship with the other Primates, but his relationship was with Canterbury, and then only through Canterbury to the other Primates. Calls for a Primates’ Meeting to discuss this issue could not be called by anyone but the Archbishop of Canterbury, he observed.

During the Bishop Griswold’s news conference Lambeth Palace announced a special meeting of the Primates to be held on October 15-16 “in London to discuss recent developments in ECUSA.”

Archbishop Williams’s letter asked for calm in the wake of the Convention, stating: “I hope also we will take quite seriously the intervening period to reflect carefully on our life together as a Communion and to consider how we might best bring our faith, experience and wisdom to bear constructively on these discussions.”

The calm that followed the next day in the House of Bishops was not one fostered by spiritual reflection but by physical absence. At 11am as the House of Bishops was gaveled into session, 47 chairs were empty. Approximately one-third of the bishops were absent. Of the 23 bishops who stood to voice their opposition to the election the previous evening, 20 had left the House. The reaction from the wider Anglican Communion and the Church’s ecumenical partners was quick. Questioned by The Church of England Newspaper whether the election of Robinson would damage Anglican relations with the Roman Catholic Church, Griswold stated that “there would be some ramifications” but he declined to speculate what they might be.

Archbishop Stephen Blaire, Chairman of the US Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs, stated on August 11 the election of Robinson would “have serious implications in the search for Christian unity and for the work of our bilateral Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States.”

“These decisions” noted Mgr Blair, “reflect a departure from the common understanding of the meaning and purpose of human sexuality, and the morality of homosexual activity as found in Sacred Scripture and the Christian tradition. As such they have serious implications in the search for Christian unity and for the work of our bilateral Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in the United States.

The day after the election, the American Anglican Council, the coalition of evangelical and traditionalist organisations in the Episcopal Church announced a meeting to be held in Texas in early October to coordinate strategies among dioceses and parishes. A number of conservative dioceses have scheduled special conventions in September and October to discuss the actions taken at Convention and to debate what steps to take in response.

Comments

1. ADEYINKA - October 18, 2011

It’s sad,nothing is sacred any more.


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