Division looms for Episcopal Church

U.S. decisions bring strong international reaction
Signs of a full-blown split between the Episcopal Church and most of the worldwide Anglican Communion appeared only days after the U.S. church’s General Convention refused to renounce the election of gay bishops.

The 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church would be reduced to nonvoting “associate” status in a proposed two-tiered membership policy for the 77-million-member communion that was announced June 27 in London.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said those national churches that sign a covenant affirming Anglicanism’s traditional stance on homosexuality could be full members of the communion, while other churches would be relegated to associate status.

Outgoing presiding bishop Frank Griswold of New York welcomed the as-yet-unwritten covenant and said he expected the process would reflect the Anglican “habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly.”

 

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