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UK: Archbishop of Canterbury 'regrets' TEC move to gay ordination

UK: Archbishop of Canterbury 'regrets' TEC move to gay ordination

By Ruth Gledhill,
July 13, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury told General Synod today that he 'regrets' the decision by The Episcopal Church house of deputies to overturn the moratorium on the ordination of gay bishops. At the same time, the Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori has warned the Church of England that it should not recognise the new Anglican Church in North America, arguing 'schism is not a Christian act.'

Responding to a question by Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream, Dr Williams said: 'As for General Convention it remains to be seen I think whether the vote of the House of Deputies will be endorsed by the House of Bishops. If the House of Bishops chooses to block then the moratorium remains. I regret the fact that there is not the will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America but I can't say more about that as I have no details.' Dr Williams also responded to concerns about the funding for the 'listening process' saying that he had been personally involved in securing that funding and had been completely unaware of any 'agenda' attached to the funding.

The deputies are the clergy and laity of The Episcopal Church.

The resolution DO25, if passed by the bishops, will overturn the previous B033 which backed the moratorium on gay ordinations and that was passed at the General Convention in 2006 after the Primates of the Anglican Communion requested three moratoria in line with the Windsor Report. The new resolution, which will be voted on by the bishops soon, includes the crucial acknowledgement 'that God has called and may call any individual in the church to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, in accordance with the discernment process set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the church.'

In fact the vote represents a direct snub to Dr Williams, who in his sermon to the Convention last Thursday urged an opposite course of action. He said, 'Of course I am coming here with hopes and anxieties - you know that and I shan't deny it. Along with many in the Communion, I hope and pray that there won't be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart.

'But if people elsewhere in the Communion are concerned about this, it's because of a profound sense of what the Episcopal Church has given and can give to our fellowship worldwide. If we - if I - had felt that we could do perfectly well with out you, there wouldn't be a problem. But the bonds of relationship are deep, for me personally as for many others. And I'm tempted to adapt what St Paul says to the Corinthians in the middle of a set of tensions no less bitter than what we have been living through and in the wake of challenges from St Paul a good deal more savage than even the sharpest words from Primates or Councils: 'Why? Because we do not love you? God knows we do."


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