Anglican bishops call truce to address divide over homosexuality

Anthony Cuesta | September 13, 2006

Bishop Katharine Schori
NEW YORK — Bishops from both sides of the turbulent Anglican feud over homosexuality have called a temporary truce and announced this week that discussions to save the church from a schism were to begin.

According to the UK�s The Times, the most likely outcome is a "two-church solution" for the US, allowing conservatives and liberals to exist, separate yet side by side, as Anglicans. It would have implications for the worldwide communion, because many other provinces, including England, have similar problems.

The plan this week was to draw up a pact giving the appearance of unity, enabling a final deal to be hammered out at the Lambeth Conference in 2008.

The meeting, in New York, will consider a paper from the seven conservative and Catholic dioceses of the Episcopal Church that oppose the leadership of Bishop Katharine Schori and have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, for alternative oversight.

The conservatives argue that there are already, in effect, two churches under one roof in the US and appeal for a special "commissary" to be appointed to look after them and enable a "ceasefire" until a peace treaty is reached at Lambeth.

The conflict over homosexuality reached new heights in recent months with a flooding of media attention on Schori�s controversial appointment.

In an interview with The Christian Post last month, Williams denied that it was time for the Church to accept gay and lesbian relationships.

"We don't say 'Come in and we ask no questions'. I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviors, ideas, emotions, � said Williams, reported The Post. "Ethics is not a matter of a set of abstract rules, it is a matter of living the mind of Christ. That applies to sexual ethics."

The Very Reverend Dr John Moses, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, said in a media statement in July that he "deeply, deeply" disliked the approach of some provinces within the Communion over homosexuality.

"The thought that anybody should be shown the door by the Church, I just find deeply offensive. The real tragedy is that Anglicanism at its best represents something which is very precious, it is a model of reformed Catholicism," he said.

Sources for The Times have said the aim is for Williams to invite all 890 bishops and archbishops to the Lambeth Conference. That would include the gay Bishop Gene Robinson, whose consecration in 2003 triggered the crisis, and any other openly gay bishops consecrated since.

Although the Nigerian bishops are among those who have pledged to boycott the conference if Bishop Robinson is present, The Times� sources hope they might be persuaded to turn up if a settlement can be reached. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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