Anglican church elects plan to close 'gay' schism

Anthony Cuesta | July 09, 2007

Dr. Rowan Williams
MANCHESTER — The Anglican Church�s ruling body elected to back plans aimed at settling internal disputes.

At a meeting in York of the General Synod, the Church of England�s parliament, the group said it supported drawing up rules in a possible "covenant" agreement.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams has warned that the Anglican Church could split over issues such as the 2003 ordination of a US gay bishop.

According to BBC News, the covenant would aim to commit the Anglican Communion's separate Churches to procedures for solving disputes.

The proposal for a covenant has been most strongly supported by conservatives and evangelicals within the church, confident that it will enshrine their theology and enforce doctrinal order. They see it as a means of disciplining member churches such as the American Episcopalians who have pressed ahead with the recognition and inclusion of gay members and elected an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Liberals claim the church has never needed a framework before and that the proposal goes against Anglicanism's traditional national autonomy and diversity of practice.

One member, Kevin Ward, representing the northern universities, told The Guardian: "Gay Anglicans have reason to be suspicious of a covenant. Its sole aim is to punish and discipline dissent ... its whole raison d'etre is one of threat, hardening and solidifying a divisive neo-Anglican communion on a narrower, less tolerant and less joyful basis."

The group drawing up the covenant agreement was chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Reverend Drexel Gomez.

BBC News reports that he told the synod he was speaking �at a time of great tension within the Anglican Communion.�

"Unless we can make a fresh statement clearly and basically of what holds us together we are destined to grow apart," he said, reports BBC News. "I believe that the covenant can only succeed if it accurately describes a sufficient basis to hold us together and for us to want to stay together, based on what we already hold and believe."

The liberal US Episcopal Church's ordination of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 marked the start of the divisions.

There has also been disagreement over church blessings for same-sex couples. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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