It takes a flow chart to keep straight all the Episcopal- Anglican divisions that have developed in the well-heeled suburbs of DuPage County, west of Chicago. Many assume that the key issue is homosexuality, but a closer look reveals that other factors are at work. For one thing, this story is about charismatic leaders coming and going, and about congregations growing in their presence or folding in their absence.
Every ten years bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion assemble in England for the Lambeth Conference. This summer’s meeting is much awaited in light of the 77-million-member communion’s highly public wrangling over the issue of homosexuality.
King Abdullah II of Jordan has given a plot of land to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem for construction of a church and retreat center at the much-visited Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan site, where, according to tradition, Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist took place.
Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, a flashpoint of controversy within the Anglican Communion for being a partnered gay bishop, said he turned down an offer from fellow U.S. bishops to be on the margins of this summer’s Lambeth Conference in London—allowed to appear in the exhibit hall and give media interviews.
The opening in July 1998 of the 13th Lambeth Conference of 800 bishops of the Anglican Communion was an exuberant celebration of multiculturalism, a Eucharist of rejoicing in the many tongues and the crackling fire of a new Pentecost.
A high-level Anglican committee based in Great Britain has reported that the Episcopal Church’s bishops who met last month in New Orleans “clarified all outstanding questions” regarding its controversial stances on homosexual issues. But 11 bishops in the Council of African Anglican Provinces, in a special meeting October 2-5 in Mauritius, said the assurances by U.S.
Expressing their “passionate desire” to remain a full partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion, U.S. Episcopal bishops late last month essentially reiterated an earlier statement of their intent to “exercise restraint” regarding the consecration of more gay bishops and to stand firm against authorizing public blessings of same-sex unions.
An Anglican congregation in Wheaton, Illinois, that has distanced itself from the Episcopal Church and placed itself under the sponsorship of the Anglican archbishop of Rwanda has learned, according to critics, how long a reach the politics of an African nation can have on a U.S. parish.
The conflict in the Anglican Communion over homosexuality is usually represented as a split between the U.S., British and Canadian churches on the one hand and the rest of the Anglican world on the other. Often cited is the 2004 statement issued at a meeting in Nigeria by the Anglican Primates of the Global South, representing 18 Anglican provinces.