Hilary White

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Anglican Church “Expels” US and Canadians Anglican Churches over Endorsement of Homosexuality

Hilary White

NEWRY, February 25, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The meeting at a Northern Ireland country mansion of 35 Anglican primates from around the world, has taken a surprising turn. The heads of the US and Canadian Anglican churches have been told not to attend meetings of the Anglican Communion for three years because of their refusal to recant their endorsement of homosexuality. Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, himself regarded as being in the theologically liberal camp said, “Any lasting solution, I think, will require people to say somewhere along the line, ‘Yes, we were wrong.’” 

In November 2003, the US Episcopal Church (ECUSA) consecrated V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. About the same time, Bishop Michael Ingham of the diocese of New Westminster tried to force parishes to begin ‘blessing’ same sex couples. The split in the Canadian Anglican church was exacerbated by Ingham’s support of the same sex ‘marriage’ and homosexual hate crimes bills that most Christians fear are the precursors to open government persecution of traditional Christians.

The primates’ statement said, “We request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council,” until the next international meeting at Lambeth in 2008. The statement includes provisions to care for those parishes and clergy who refuse to go along with the North American schism. It also calls for a moratorium on same sex blessings and the consecration of any bishops “living in a sexual relationship outside marriage.” 

The primates of Africa and Asia attended the Ireland meeting knowing they had the upper hand. Their conservative brand of Anglicanism is the only one that is growing and the dioceses of Africa in particular, although not wealthy, have more members than those of the US, Canadian and English churches combined.

Some primates refused to attend the communion services that were part of the meeting, a sign that they feel that liberal, western Anglicanism is no longer in communion with the Christian dispensation. Primate Peter Akinola of Nigeria, which country alone has the world’s second largest population of Anglicans, is steadfastly opposed to legitimizing homosexuality and is supported by the great majority of his 17.9 million-strong flock. 

Lee Nelson an Anglican seminarian at Nashotah House, the ECUSA seminary in the Anglo-Catholic, or ‘high church’ tradition, said that although the primates’ decision was a positive move, they failed to address the essence of the conflict. He says the problem is not gays in the ministry, but a move away from basic theological proposals of Christianity. “We can’t even maintain the most basic and most essential unity, that being Eucharistic, because of Women’s Ordination.”

Nelson, reflecting the views of much of the younger, more conservative members of the church said in the end he is not impressed saying that the essence of Anglicanism is not religious but political. “So what kind of communion are we fighting for? It’s simple. We’re fighting for the salvation of our collective face… Saving face rather saving souls.” 

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