In a defining moment in the Anglican Communion's civil war over homosexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed a plan yesterday that could force the Episcopal Church in the United States either to renounce gay bishops and same-sex unions or to give up full membership in the Communion.The NYT article ends:
The archbishop, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, said the "best way forward" was to devise a shared theological "covenant" and ask each province, as the geographical divisions of the church are called, to agree to abide by it.
Provinces that agree would retain full status as "constituent churches," and those that do not would become "churches in association" without decision-making status in the Communion, the world's third largest body of churches.
. . .
The archbishop said his proposal could allow local churches in the United States to separate from the Episcopal Church and join the American wing that stays in the Communion. But that process could take years, and some American parishes are already planning to break from the Episcopal Church. Entire dioceses may announce their intention to depart, as soon as today.
Archbishop Williams said in his statement, "The reason Anglicanism is worth bothering with is because it has tried to find a way of being a church that is neither tightly centralized nor a loose federation of essentially independent bodies."He's characterized the organizational uniqueness of the Anglican Communion. But, at least in this quote he's not explained why that characteristic makes the Communion "worth bothering with." I'll read his statement and get back to you if I see some explanation.
But that decentralization will continue to be a cause of conflict unless it is addressed, he said, adding, "What our Communion lacks is a set of adequately developed structures which is able to cope with the diversity of views that will inevitably arise in a world of rapid global communication and huge cultural variety."