Roughly half way through the Episcopal convention, excitement and tension is building as the repeal of the 2006 moratorium on gay bishops moves forward. As part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the proposed change faces resistance from without as well as within. When conservatives within the Church of England raised the suggestion that a conservative, breakaway group in the US (ACNA) might receive official recognition, the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church warned that such action would only promote schism, according to an article in the Washington Times.
ANAHEIM, Calif. | The presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church warned the Church of England not to foment schism in America, responding to a threat made over the possibility that the U.S. church will start ordaining actively gay bishops.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Sunday, in response to questions from The Washington Times, that calls by conservatives in the Church of England for recognition of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) over gay-related issues would wound her church, already split by the secession of conservative dioceses and congregations to form the ACNA.
She urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to remember the "pain of many Episcopalians in several places of being shut out of their traditional worship spaces, and the broken relationships, the damaged relationships between people who have gone and people who have stayed."
"Recognition of something like ACNA is unfortunately likely only to encourage" further secessions, she said, reminding the Church of England that "schism is not a Christian act."
The parliamentary procedure of the Episcopal convention posits a bicameral approach. On Sunday, The House of Deputies passed Resolution D025 (70-31 in the lay order and 74-35 in the clergy order). Among other things, the resolution provides: “Affirm that God has called and may call partnered gay and lesbian people to any ordained ministry,” according to Walking with Integrity, the official blog of Integrity USA. The measure must also be passed by the House of Bishops to become official.
In her personal blog (An Inch at a Time), the President of Integrity, Pastor Susan Russell, speaks to both optimism and pessimism as the convention waits on the Bishops. The excitement is also palpable on a couple of weekend postings on the Integrity Blog: We Could have Danced All Night offers a glowing report of the Friday night Eucharist of 1200 LGBT Episcopalians and the stirring sermon of Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris (the first woman bishop in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion). The Integrity Blog also offers a daily YouTube update.
Of course, there are many other items of business at the convention, and the blog of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation provides daily updates on issues pertaining to poverty and hunger.