Guest / Limited Access /

The Episcopal Church is at least one step closer to an historic split with the 78-million-member Anglican Communion. The national church's House of Bishops with its left-leaning majority rejected a newly proposed pastoral oversight council, calling it an "unprecedented" power play.

In a letter to the 2.1 million American Episcopalians, the bishops expressed a "strong desire" to remain within the Anglican Communion despite differences over same-sex rites and openly gay bishops.

But the bishops deeply disputed the communiqué that the Anglican Communion's top leaders (primates) issued in mid-February after they met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The primates, many of them theological conservatives, called for the American church to receive oversight from a pastoral council and for appointment of a "primatial vicar." The council and vicar would provide a means to keep conservative congregations and dioceses within the Episcopal Church.

The bishops raised significant concerns about the primates' plan, saying, "first among these is what is arguably an unprecedented shift of power toward the primates, represented, in part, by the proposed 'pastoral scheme.'" Under the plan, a non-American primate would chair the council and the primates would name two of the five council members. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of the American church, would name the other two.

The bishops said the plan violated their constitution, and they urged the church's executive council to turn it down. The Episcopal executive council meets in June and is expected to hear from an internal working group about the February communiqué. The bishops indicated they continue to address the "pastoral concerns" of conservatives through other means ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueContemplative Activist
Subscriber Access Only
Contemplative Activist
Ann Voskamp’s rural Canadian life may seem picture perfect. But with her new book, the intensely shy writer could spark a social movement among North American Christians.
RecommendedInterVarsity Asks Staff to Choose a Stance on Sexuality
InterVarsity Asks Staff to Choose a Stance on Sexuality
Campus ministry's push for theological consistency prompts painful backlash.
TrendingWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
Editor's PickI Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
And then I shared it with the man the government sent to kill me.
Christianity Today
Ready to Walk Apart?
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.