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Schori Moves to Avert Schism: CEN 9.28.07 p 1. September 27, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, House of Bishops.

The Bishops of the Episcopal Church have agreed to maintain the status quo within the Anglican Communion and refrain from consecrating any more gay bishops or authorizing public rites for same-sex blessings.

imgp1691.JPGHowever the agreement hammered out in a late night session between Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and members of the joint ACC-Primates Standing Committee may be too little, too late, as plans are already well underway for up to five American dioceses to quit the church to affiliate with other provinces of the Anglican Communion.

After a day spent trying to reconcile half a dozen competing “mind of the house” resolutions on Sept 24, Bishop Schori proposed an eight point resolution that encompassed the essential elements of the competing plans. Bishop Schori adjourned the meeting and held a late night session with members of the joint standing committee to craft an acceptable statement.

Bishop Schori presented the results of her labors to the bishops on Sept 25. Bishops present at the closed door debates told CEN that it was understood among the House that the Joint Standing Committee would give the US Church a “passing grade” if it adopted the 8-point plan. After a half day of discussion and tinkering with the language, the bishops adopted the resolution with only the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison voting against—and an undisclosed number of bishops declining to vote.

The Bishops agreed for the present to: Halt the consecration of gay bishops; Not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions; and Endorse Bishop Schori’s primatial visitor plan for conservatives.

The bishops repeated their objections to “incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops”, asked for a wider implementation of the Lambeth “listening process”, endorsed the civil rights of homosexuals, and called upon Archbishop Williams to find a way to invite Gene Robinson to Lambeth 2008.

The bishops also backed Bishop Schori’s call for a “communion-wide consultation” on doctrine and discipline “in accord with our Constitution and Canons.”

Bishops on both the left and right were left discouraged by the compromise resolution, which the Bishop of Massachusetts said was crafted so as to satisfy the Joint Standing Committee. However, the Bishop of Los Angeles, Jon Bruno told a press conference the Episcopal Church would not turn back the clock on gay rights.

Dr. Williams is expected to give his blessing to the statement as having met the conditions of the Dar es Salaam communiqué. However, the ambiguous and tortuous language of the document is not likely to satisfy the primates, with many observers predicting a split within the American Church by year’s end.

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