The Episcopal Church Executive Council has decided to “voluntarily withdraw” its three official participants from a June global steering committee meeting of the worldwide Anglican Communion. A voluntary withdrawal until 2008 from the Anglican Consultative Council was requested in February by an international meeting of Anglican primates, or chief bishops, in light of widespread criticism of the election of an openly gay Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire. The statement was issued April 13 by the council. In a previous response to the primates, the Episcopal bishops in March placed a self-imposed moratorium on the election of any new bishops until mid-2006. They agreed also not to bless same-sex unions at least until the church gathers next year for its general convention. “We are mindful that Christ has made us members of one body, and that no part can say to any other, ‘I have no need of you,’” says the statement coauthored by Episcopal presiding bishop Frank Griswold.