Conservative Anglican archbishops last week revealed plans to force the liberal American Episcopal (Anglican) Church out of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The UK’s Daily Telegraph reported that the conservative evangelical primates hope to use an emergency meeting in October to force the archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to expel the Americans, unless the Episcopalians reverse last month’s endorsement of openly gay clergy and same-sex unions. Dr Williams called an emergency meeting last month inviting 32 national churches to London from 15 to 16 October to discuss ways to preserve our respect for one another and for the bonds that unite us.
Anglicans from around the globe continue to voice their disapproval of the appointment of openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson at the Episcopal General Convention in August.
The Guardian reported Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the primate of the West Indies, would be among opponents to the Americans at the meeting, along with South American archbishop Gregory Venables. The TelegraphÂ revealed an estimate by conservatives that between a third and a half of primates would support the expulsion.
Evidence of a further rift was also reported this week between the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church. Associated Press reported that Dr Williams will be meeting with Pope John Paul II on 4 October, amid fears Anglican-Catholic relations have been strained by the denominations’ two recent and very different pronouncements on homosexuality. Bishop Stephen Blaire of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops told AP the Episcopalians’ stance had serious implications for Anglican-Catholic relations.
Williams’s representative to the Vatican, Rev. John Flack, expressed greater optimism. Rev. Flack told AP there clearly are still substantial areas of disagreement -¦ but I do think we are on this journey -¦ and the journey goes on.