By Sam Hailes, Premier.
The decision was made at the Primates meeting in Canterbury where Anglican leaders had gathered to “reflect and pray” about the future of the Communion.
The meeting came about after The Episcopal Church in the United States went against other churches in the Communion by authorising its clergy to perform same sex marriages in July last year.
This week’s meeting was called by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and was designed to stop a break up in the Anglican Communion over the issue.
However a statement released this evening said, “given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.
“Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.
“The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.”
The statement also said the Archbishop of Canterbury will “appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.”
The news follows four days of discussion over the church’s position on homosexuality. Earlier today it was confirmed the Archbishop of Uganda had walked of the meeting amid disagreements.
Read the statement from Primates 2016.
Read the statement by Archbishop Foley Beach to the Anglican Church North America
The Gospel Coalition: The FAQs: Anglican Communion ‘Suspends’ Episcopal Church
Religion News Service: Episcopal Church suspended from Anglican Communion
Virtue Online: Episcopal Church will be sanctioned by Primates over passage of Gay Marriage Canon
St. Marks Episcopal Church in Minneapolis reportedly performed a same sex civil union/marriage DURING SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE two days after Christmas. Children in the pews must have been disturbed or confused by the two men (one of which might have been an Ep. Priest) holding hands, kissing and such at the altar of God.
Even I didn’t see this one coming, although they have poking the eye of Canterbury for a long time going back as far as when my wife was a member.
I wonder whether this turned out for the best? True, if the conservative bishops had walked out, it might have effectively ended the worldwide Anglican communion. And since the Episcopal church hasn’t been thrown out, but only demoted, in a way, the worldwide Anglican communion has been maintained. But is it likely that, in three years, the Episcopal church will have changed? And what happens at the end of the three years? And what happens if the Canadian church goes the way of the Episcopal church in the meantime? What if this action causes added turmoil in the remaining churches, to put pressure on to change their practices before the expiration of the three years? Might it not have been better to allow the worldwide Anglican communion to be dissolved now, while retaining some sort of nodding acquaintance, probably not to include holding church services together?
But isn’t it striking how this one issue of same sex marriage has so divided the church? No doubt there were always people who believed more strongly in the literal words of the Bible, and people who believed more strongly that God had something different to say today, and they were worshipping happily side by side. It took this issue to point out what different results were obtained when those different viewpoints were applied to attempt to solve a practical question, and to suggest that many times, those two groups would not be happiest when grouped together in one church.
Given that the Anglican Communion has taken this step, however reluctantly and is only a “demotion” rather than an expulsion, it is a more faithful step than any other mainline Protestant denomination has taken on this issue.
I salute them even as I recognize all of the denominations will continue to pass through the fire of the Lord’s discipline before there is the budding of spring once again.
I think you’re right, John. I for one would not want to be grouped with a bunch of Anglican Bishops who support the imprisonment and execution of LGBT people.
Once again you deceive. The isolated situation in Uganda does not reflect on the entire continent of Africa, unless you are a manipulative, misleading zealot who attacks traditional Christians.