January 14, 2016

Anglican Communion Leaders Suspend Episcopal Church

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
January 14, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org

“This sanction is the ecclesiastical equivalent of being placed in ‘time out’.”
-IRD Anglican Program Director Jeff Walton

Washington, DC—Top bishops in the Anglican Communion have voted to suspend the U.S.-based Episcopal Church from full participation in the worldwide family of churches historically descended from the Church of England. The suspension will last for three years; enough time for the Episcopal Church to address the matter at the denomination’s next governing General Convention in 2018.

The gathering of leaders (known as ‘primates’) from 38 Anglican Communion provinces, including Anglican Church in North America Archbishop Foley Beach, was convened by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to discuss pressing issues facing the third largest family of Christian churches.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been riven by discord since the U.S.-based Episcopal Church consecrated an openly partnered homosexual man as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire in 2003. The consecration brought to the forefront long-simmering disagreements about scriptural authority and resulted in impaired communion between the Episcopal Church and more traditionalist provinces located primarily in the Global South.

IRD Anglican Program Director Jeff Walton commented:

“This sanction is the ecclesiastical equivalent of being placed in ‘time out’. But the goal of ‘time out’ is to change behavior, and the Episcopal Church has clearly spoken that it will not deviate from its chosen trajectory.

“There will be no formal schism, but primates will continue — as they have since 2003 — refusing to take the Holy Eucharist with their fellow bishops due to the ‘impaired’ or ‘broken communion’ between their provinces and the Episcopal Church.

“The primates who have taken this step have cited three reasons for doing so: the lack of reconciliation between the Episcopal Church and their provinces, obedience to Scripture, and the admonitions of the Book of Common Prayer. For them it’s a question of faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

“The other major development from the Canterbury gathering is the seating of Archbishop Foley Beach among the primates as an equal with voice and vote. From the primates’ perspective, the Anglican Church in North America is now a de-facto province of the Anglican Communion.”


15 Responses to Anglican Communion Leaders Suspend Episcopal Church

  1. Gregg says:

    Looks like ECUSA will soon be announcing that they have come into “full communion” with the MCC. No doubt, “By the prompting of the Holy Spirit.”

  2. werter says:

    Rejoice! Better late than never. I cherish a hope that this ruling will bring closer the CofE and the RCC.

    As a Catholic, I say kudos to Abp. Welby and the African clergy without whom this decision wouldn’t have been made.

  3. accelerator says:

    Anglicans have no spine or balls. No one will ever ever be expelled. The gay crisis is now ten plus years old, and this is their manly response? Total and utter cop-out.

  4. Lester Hemphill says:

    The homosexuality issue is very divisive in any Christian denomination. The reason is because the Bible is very clear on that issue. Among United Methodists that issue very definitely will come up in 2016 during legislative action at their General Conference. So far, United Methodist majority rule has been to oppose same sex marriage and to oppose ordination of gay clergy. Among United Methodists, there is a renegade organization, Reconciling Ministries, that advocates change.

    • Wallclimber says:

      Lester, when they invited satan into their pulpits they opened the gates of hell. One UMC even had their pastor forcibly removed and the keys taken from them even thought the members built that church with their own money. The UMC bishop brought in a pro-gay pastor whose language would have fit any Navy vessel. The original pastor’;s “crime”? Being anti-gay and preaching that belief as the Bible clearly states it to be. There is a radical wing in the UMC that one day will see the gates of hell and rightfully so.

    • John S. says:

      As I understand it, the problem is more than homosexuality but also includes ordination of women and raising them to the status of Bishops. The Church of England is now embarking on this step and it will be interesting to see if the Anglican church censures the mother church. Even more interesting will be seeing all the UMC who are praising the Anglican church for standing up against homosexuality condemning it for not changing and supporting woman ordination and bishoprics. Especially since the Anglican church opposes both on the same grounds.

      • Lester Hemphill says:

        There already are many UMC women clergy and even women bishops. There is very little controversy about that. In fact, many women pastors are really excellent. The first Methodist woman pastor was ordained in 1956.

    • Thomas says:

      I hope that the United Methodist Church finally will reject their membership in the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for the Reproductive Choice. It almost certainly would have happened if a motion had given a floor vote in 2012. From Wikipedia: “There was an attempt to withdraw the United Methodist Church membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice at their General Conference, held in May 2012, with a petition that passed through the legislative subcommittee and committee votes, but was not given a floor vote. Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth, president of the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality said he “had every reason to believe” that pro-life delegates would have won a floor vote.”

      • Lester Hemphill says:

        Membership in Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice does not mean that all United Methodists have to be pro-choice. Neither would that be the case if it were membership in a pro-life organization. The denomination allows each member to interpret scripture as he/she is led by his/her relationship with the Lord. If his/her belief is biblically based, that is fine. The homosexuality issue has escalated, because the status quo side vehemently wants to maintain the freedom to believe that all are welcome as full members versus believe that the practice is not biblical. Hyper focus on that all are welcome as full members would push out those who believe that the practice is not biblical.

  5. geoherb1 says:

    The split between conservatives and liberals in the Anglican Communion began 40 years ago with the issue of the ordination of women. There are still holdouts against that practice.

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