Guest / Limited Access /

The Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, was given until the end of the month to state unequivocally that it will not ordain any more gay bishops or authorize rites to bless same-sex unions.

If the U.S. bishops refuse, overseas Anglican archbishops have promised unspecified "consequences" that could drive the U.S. church from the Communion or lead other Anglicans out the door.

Meanwhile, several conservative U.S. dioceses have recently threatened to leave the Episcopal Church if the meeting doesn't go their way.

"It is still theoretically possible there will be some surprises," Central Florida Bishop John Howe said in a church newsletter. "But nearly every observer of the events of the past several years is convinced that a watershed moment is at hand."

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who heads the Church of England and serves as spiritual leader to the world's nearly 77 million Anglicans, will travel to New Orleans for two days of closed-door meetings with the bishops.

Williams is charged with unifying the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, a task that has grown more difficult as clashes continue over the 2003 election of Bishop V. Gene Robinson, a partnered gay man in New Hampshire.

Among the issues Williams and the U.S. bishops will hash out in New Orleans are:

  • Has the Episcopal Church promised that it will not elect any more gay bishops?
  • Will Episcopalians pledge not to authorize any rites for blessing same-gender couples?
  • Will the Episcopal Church create a separate leadership structure for dissident conservatives?

Some Episcopalians argue that the church answered the first question last summer when it called for "restraint" before electing bishops "whose manner of life presents a challenge ...

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

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

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueSeven Boring Ways the Church Can Change the World
Subscriber Access Only
Seven Boring Ways the Church Can Change the World
Honestly, it’s nothing radical.
RecommendedHere’s Who Will Pray at Trump’s Inauguration
Here’s Who Will Pray at Trump’s Inauguration
(UPDATED) What the president-elect's unusually broad and diverse clergy lineup tells us.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Episcopalians Head to High-Stakes Meeting
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2007

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