Rowan Williams has issued this statement:
This initial response of the House of Bishops is discouraging and indicates the need for further discussion and clarification. Some important questions have still to be addressed and no one is underestimating the challenges ahead.
Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times reported Episcopals Rebuff Demands on Stance on Gays
Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press filed Episcopal Bishops Reject Ultimatum and later filed Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum from Anglican leaders.
Rebecca Trounson in the Los Angeles Times Episcopalians brace for possible church split
Bishop Chane of Washington reported in a Pastoral Letter on his diocesan website, including this:
The first resolution, “Mind of the House of Bishops Resolution Addressed to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church” passed in the House by a simple voice vote after several hours of debate. The second resolution, “To the Archbishop of Canterbury and the members of the Primates’ Steering Committee” passed unanimously. The third resolution, which puts forth “A Statement from the House of Bishops-March 20, 2007” passed by a standing vote after some modifications in language.
Update at midnight
Stephen Bates in the Guardian has US rejects Anglican ultimatum:
The worldwide Anglican church was facing its long-awaited split last night after the bishops of the US Episcopal church firmly rejected an ultimatum, proposed at a meeting of Anglican leaders in Tanzania last month, to allow American conservatives to have their own leadership because of opposition to their church’s liberal stance on homosexuality.
The decision appears to kill the hopes of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and nominal head of the 78 million-strong worldwide communion, that he can prevent the church from dividing following the liberal US church’s decision to elect an openly gay bishop in 2003. The American bishops called unanimously for a meeting with Dr Williams, who has steered clear of visiting the US over the last four years, at the earliest possible opportunity, at their expense…
Ruth Gledhill in The Times has Anglicans closer to schism as US bishops reject gay ultimatum:
The Anglican Church took another step towards its apparently inevitable schism when US Episcopal bishops rejected the ultimatum from primates of the Anglican Communion to fall into line over homosexuals.
The bishops of the Episcopal Church accused Anglican primates of trying to drag their Church back into “a time of colonialism”. They said late on Tuesday night that they would resist the primates’ demand that they set up a new pastoral scheme with a “primatial vicar” to make a traditionalist enclave for antigay conservatives who reject the oversight of liberal bishops. They said that the scheme “violated” their canons, or Church law.
Christian gays in Britain yesterday welcomed the US decision and accused the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who chaired last month’s primates’ meeting in Tanzania, of trying to “sell them down the river” and of pandering to “forces of the extreme Right”.