Anglican Primates warned this week that the House of Bishops'
decision to see the episcopate as open to priests in civil
partnerships could lead to "further separation" from the Church of
News, 11 January,
The Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, said
last week that, if the C of E "continues in a contrary direction,
we must further separate ourselves from it". The Church of Nigeria
would be "prepared to take the same actions" it took in 2003 after
the consecration of the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, a gay priest in the
United States, which resulted in a breaking of communion with the
Episcopal Church in the US.
The Anglican Church in North America, which broke away from the
US Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over the same
issue, also said that it would "further separate" itself from the C
of E, in a communiqué published after its College of Bishops
meeting last week. It, too, was "prepared to take the same actions"
as it did ten years ago.
A statement from the Primates of the Global South - signed by
Archbishop Okoh; the Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn
of Africa, Dr Mouneer Anis; and seven other Primates - said that
the opening of the episcopate to priests in civil partnerships
would "widen the gap between the C of E and Anglicans in the Global
The C of E decision had been taken "without prior consultation
or consensus with the rest of the Anglican Communion at a time when
the Communion is still facing major challenges of disunity. It is
contrary to 'the interdependence' which we try to affirm between
Churches within the Communion . . . We strong urge the Church of
England to reconsider this divisive decision."
The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagli, said
last week that the House of Bishops' decision "only makes the
brokenness of the Communion worse, and is particularly
disheartening coming from the Mother Church. . . Our grief and
sense of betrayal are beyond words."
"No prior discussion". The Government's announcement
last month that same-sex marriages would remain illegal for the
Church of England and the Church in Wales "came out of the blue and
with no prior discussion with the Church in Wales at all", the
Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has said (
News, 14 December).
Dr Morgan wrote in a letter to The Times on Monday that
the Church in Wales did not want to be "proscribed . . . from
holding same-sex marriages if, in the future, it decided it wanted
to do so by changing its canon law".
Speaking in the House of Commons, on Thursday of last week, the
Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry, asked the
Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Lansley, "not to rush
bringing forward the legislation on same-sex marriage" until draft
clauses protecting Churches and other faith groups had been agreed
by church and government officials.
Mr Lansley said that it was "absolutely our intention to ensure
that the legislation that comes forward is clear and will carry