By Hilary White
SAN FRANCISCO, October 1, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church (ECUSA), has said that there will be no reversal of the church’s pro-homosexual direction taken in recent years.
Speaking to a standing room-only audience at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, the most senior official of the American branch of the Anglican Communion, announced that the Episcopalians would continue to "bless" same-sex unions and consecrate active and unrepentant homosexuals to the episcopate.
"[We are] not going backward, but willing to pause," Jefferts Schori said. "All people, including gay and lesbian Christians and non-Christians, are deserving of the fullest regard of the church."
The statement comes at a deadline placed on the American branch of the Worldwide Anglican Communion at a meeting in Tanzania in February 2007. At that meeting, the bishops gave ECUSA an ultimatum and deadline saying the ultra-liberal American branch must reassert its adherence to Christian teaching by the end of September 2007 in order to retain full membership in the Communion. The bishops’ statement of principles said churches and provinces of the Communion must adhere to the "faith which is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures."
The news that ECUSA will not accept the provisions of the 2004 Windsor Report and that there will be no moratorium on ordaining active homosexuals, is expected to lead to a schism within the Anglican Communion. It has been widely reported that "conservative" or traditionally Christian bishops of the Church of England have met with their counterparts in the US to provide episcopal oversight for Episcopalians who wish to retain their connection to historic Christianity.
In support of the ECUSA decision, Bishop Thomas Ely of the Diocese of Vermont said, "This House is committed to the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of the church."
"We have ... work to do" he said, to bring the rest of the Anglican Communion into line with the so-called "liberal" opinion.
Schori, a radical feminist, is an enthusiastic supporter of normalizing homosexuality within Christianity. She troubled many in the Anglican Communion when she preached, at the closing service of the 2006 Episcopal Convention at which she was elected Presiding Bishop, using the term "Our mother Jesus" who "gives birth to a new creation."
Of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, over half live in the developing world, in which traditional Christian teaching finds broad support among the lay faithful. Bishops of the "global south" have been the most vocal supporters of the traditional Christian teachings within Anglicanism.
The bishops of the Anglican world will meet next year for the Lambeth conference where decisions regarding the Worldwide Communion are taken. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has said that Gene Robinson, the open homosexual whose consecration started the crisis in 2003, will be allowed to attend the 2008 conference, but will not be allowed to participate or vote. Williams has yet to make a statement on the ECUSA announcement.
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