ST: No gay Anglican bishops, if new plan gets backing (Jul 28)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

July 28, 2008
No gay Anglican bishops, if new plan gets backing
LONDON - HOMOSEXUAL clergy will be barred from becoming bishops in the
Anglican communion under controversial new plans backed by the
Archbishop of Canterbury.

Liberals will be warned that they face expulsion from the heart of
Anglicanism unless they respect the ban, London's The Sunday Telegraph
reported yesterday.

An American church caused deep divisions between conservatives and
liberals when it consecrated Mr Gene Robinson as the first openly gay
Anglican bishop in 2003. There have been reports that it is prepared
to consecrate more homosexual bishops.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, told the Telegraph that he
would be willing to do the same.

The proposal to ban future consecrations is the most significant move
yet over the issue.

A paper on the issue, commissioned by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan
Williams, will be debated by 650 bishops today at the ongoing Lambeth
conference, the once-a-decade gathering of the Anglican Communion.

The debate is set to start the first real clash of the conference,
with liberal bishops expected to fight any attempt to curb their
autonomy, said the report.

However, Dr Williams is determined to impose tighter governance of the
77-million-member Anglican Communion to try and hold it together.

The paper, titled How Do We Get From Here To There?, says it is vital
that an Anglican Covenant be agreed so that churches around the world
will be mutually accountable and united by a common set of beliefs.

This must happen as soon as possible, it says, to prevent further
haemorrhaging of the Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexual
clergy. And until a consensus is reached, American and Canadian
churches must refrain from consecrating more homosexual bishops and
carrying out blessing services for same-sex couples, it says.

If the conference agrees to the recommendations, it will give Dr
Williams a mandate to exclude rebel churches.

Liberals in the Church of England who have stood by the American
church will be dismayed by this return to a conservative position.

Dr John Saxbee, the Bishop of Lincoln, said that while he supported
dialogue, he was opposed to the idea of a covenant. 'We need to be a
broad Church offering hospitality to everyone,' he told the Telegraph.