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article imageEpiscopalians cut from ecumenical bodies in gay-bishops row

By Andrew John     Jun 10, 2010 in World
Episcopalians in the US will no longer be able to serve on ecumenical bodies after the church elected a lesbian as a bishop in California. And this applies even to those who are opposed to same-sex relationships.
The row over homosexual clergy has caused a rift in the Anglican Communion ever since Gene Robinson was elected a bishop in New Hampshire in 2003 and subsequently entered office in 2004.
Since then, the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool has been made an assistant bishop of Los Angeles, widening the divide between the liberals and conservatives.
“Conservative African Anglicans have taken a lead in opposing moves in the United States and Canada to promote gays and to bless homosexual relationships,” says Associated Press.
It says the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams – the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has more than 80 million members in some 160 countries – wants a moratorium on appointing gay leaders within the church.
Williams, once thought to be liberal on such matters, has come down on the side of the conservatives since the Gene Robinson appointment. He even “asked for action against the Episcopal Church” after Glasspool’s appointment, says the AP report.
The latest move, explains the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Communion, means that, in formal friendship-building meetings between Anglicans and other churches, Episcopalians will be mere consultants, rather than seen as members of the process.
Ironically, some of those US Episcopalians downgraded from member to consultant are also conservatives, and support the current moratorium on appointments of gay clergy.
One is a member of the Anglican–Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission, Bishop C. Cranklin Brookhart of Montana.
Brookhart complains that individual clergy members’ opinions weren’t taken into consideration by Williams. Brookhart didn’t take part in Glasspool’s consecration, he says, and he doesn’t authorise same-sex blessings.
He concludes: “This is ironic, isn’t it?”
Meanwhile, the church in Canada meets in Synod – its governing body – this week to discuss whether to debate a motion on same-sex blessings. Kearon has written to the Anglican Church there to ask whether it has adopted a formal policy on such blessings.
More about Anglican communion, Rowqn williams, Archbishop canterbury, Mary glasspool, Gene robinson
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