An emergency meeting of Anglican primates last week resolved not to expel the American Anglican (Episcopal) church from the worldwide communion, despite the election of an openly gay canon as bishop of New Hampshire, AP reported.
The meeting of 37 primates in London resolved instead to establish a committee to report on the issue within a year.
It was noted within the meeting, however, that the consecration of gay canon Gene Robinson on 2 November might still precipitate a schism.
Robinson responded to the controversy by telling The Times that he would not stand down and that he had been called by God. I hope we will choose hanging together, because I believe we can hold together while we continue to fight about this, Robinson said.
Robinson was also asked what he would say if the archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams asked him to stand down, as Williams had (successfully) requested of UK gay bishop-elect Jeffrey John earlier this year.
I would take that very seriously because he is our spiritual leader and I will listen very carefully to him, and then I will pray about it. So I cannot tell you what the result will be, Robinson told The Times.
Division was in the air, however, at a meeting of the Sydney Anglican Diocese held this week, when it was voted that same-sex unions and sexual immorality were outside the bounds of the Anglican church. The motion was in response to the decision by the Episcopal Church of Canada this year to bless same-sex marriages in the diocese of New Westminster.
Sydney archbishop Peter Jensen told ABC Online, We do not endorse or condone sexual immorality.
The Reverend John McIntyre rebuked Archbishop Jensen’s stance to ABC Online, stating that people who bash gays and lesbians will hear Jensen’s words as authority to continue to do that.
Archbishop Jensen also told BBC Radio the church could not survive a split.
It’s no good pretending splits have not occurred, or that we’re existing in a sort of lovely world where everything is going to be OK. It’s not OK, Jensen said.