Skip to comments.Archbishop holds talks over fear of a schism
Posted on 03/27/2006 12:29:07 PM PST by sionnsar
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has invited senior bishops and advisers to a private meeting in London in the clearest indication to date that Anglican church leaders are braced for a schism. The Times has learnt that the meeting at Lambeth Palace next month is intended to examine the crisis in the Church over homosexuality.
It is being held in the run-up to the General Convention in June of the US Episcopal Church. Speculation is mounting that the US Church will then ratify the election of a lesbian as Bishop of California.
The Rev Bonnie Perry, 43, is one of five shortlisted candidates standing for election on May 6. Her girlfriend of 18 years, Susan Harlow, is a professor of religious education at the nearby Meadville Lombard Theological School and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. The ratification would follow the choice of the gay cleric Gene Robinson to be Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
A further top-secret consultation is to take place after June, at St George's House, Windsor Castle, to debate the implications. This consultation, on sexuality and to be conducted under Chatham House rules, is being called by the Bishops of Liverpool and Chelmsford, the Right Rev James Jones and the Right Rev John Gladwin.
The number of meetings and the level of secrecy surrounding them indicates the seriousness with which the Church's leaders are viewing the crisis.
In his invitation, leaked to The Times, Chris Smith, the Archbishop of Canterbury's head of staff, says: "I am writing to invite you to take part in a round-table discussion about the next critical months in the Anglican Communion and its consequences for the Church."
--See Ruth Gledhill's weblog at www.timesonline.co.uk/faith
Schism in the Episcopal Church would be a good thing. It beats being subject to heretics anyday.
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