As soon as majorities at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention consented to the election of an openly gay bishop, outnumbered conservative delegates condemned the unprecedented action for “breaking the ties that bind” the U.S. church to the rest of Anglicanism. Nineteen dissenting U.S. bishops immediately told colleagues they were calling other primates “to intervene”; 38 bishops abroad joined the outcry. And before the ten-day convention in Minneapolis ended August 8, the archbishop of Canterbury called an extraordinary meeting of Anglican primates to be held in London in mid-October.
The specter of schism—whether through severed relations or large cutbacks in diocesan donations—hung over Episcopalians like the sword of Damocles this month.
But one delegate suggested that another sword analogy—the sword of Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian knot—was more apt for this moment in the life of the church.