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US talks at Lambeth as protest votes carried

by
05 November 2009

by Pat Ashworth

Doorstepping: the US visitors outside Lambeth Palace last month MATTHEW DAVIES/ELO

Doorstepping: the US visitors outside Lambeth Palace last month MATTHEW DAVIES/ELO

SIX bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States, who say that they represent “the broad centre”, met the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace last month

The bishops, from East and North Carolina, Lexington (Kentucky), and Southwestern Virginia, reported that the conversation had been “very specific” about areas such as cross-border interventions and the mora­toriums requested by the Windsor report.

The Archbishop “expressed again and again his deep affection and regard for the Episcopal Church. I found that reassuring,” the Bishop of East Carolina, the Rt Revd Clifton Daniel III, said.

After a similar meeting with Dr Williams in September, seven con­servative bishops of the Episcopal Church issued a statement seeking a groundswell of support for the proposed Anglican Covenant (News, 11 September). The group included the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Mark Lawrence, and the Bishop of Western Louisiana, the Rt Revd Bruce MacPherson, who took differ­ent ap­proaches at their diocesan conven­tions last month.

South Carolina has voted to distance itself from Episcopal Church councils and to repudiate the sexu­ality resolutions taken by the General Convention in July. Western Louisi­ana pins its faith on the Covenant, and has opted to stay.

South Carolina’s convention en­dorsed the Ridley draft of the Cov­enant; declared as “null and void” resolutions that declared any or­dained ministry to be open to gay and lesbian people; and called for the development of theological resources for same-sex blessings. It voted to “seek missional relationships with orthodox congregations isolated across North America”.

Bishop Lawrence said that “the General Convention has become the problem. . . Frankly, I have been wondering just how long the average Episcopalian will just sit there and let this trainload of radical activism roll them along to a dead-end station.”

The president of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, had writ­­ten to the diocese before the convention, to say that “actions of General Convention are binding on dioceses regardless of whether their bishops and deputies voted for or against them, agree with them, or even participated in General Con­vention”.

Bishop MacPherson told the Western Louisiana convention that he had a commitment to the whole diocese. “We must stay where we are at this time. . . We stay also because our historic identity with the An­glican Communion demands it of us,” he said.

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