Roughly 2,700 conservative U.S. Episcopalians gathered in Dallas in October to ask the Anglican Communion's highest-ranking archbishops to rebuke their church for rejecting historic Christian teaching on homosexuality.

After two days of confrontational, humorous, and confident speeches, these Episcopalians expected the primates (archbishops with national or transnational authority) to issue a stern rebuke.

Instead, the primates issued an ambiguous statement in which both sides found reasons for hope. While reaffirming the church's traditional teaching on sexual morality, the statement calls for a committee to study the Archbishop of Canterbury's role in leading Anglicans.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, summoned primates to the October 14–15 meeting even while the Episcopal Church's General Convention was still in session in early August.

"My initial reaction was that it was bureaucratic, diplomatic," conservative Bishop James Stanton of Dallas told CT. "On second reading, and after speaking with some of the primates involved, I'm satisfied with it." Stanton described the statement as a "compassionate call on the Episcopal Church to change its path."

Stanton said he believes orthodox primates from around the world remain committed to decisive action if the Episcopal Church consecrates Robinson.

In 1998, Anglican bishops meeting at the decennial Lambeth Conference described homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture. Meeting again October 14–15 at Lambeth, the archbishops warned the Episcopal Church in the United States that consecrating an openly noncelibate homosexual bishop would "tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level."

Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the 2.5 million-member Episcopal ...

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