Updated Monday afternoon
Monday’s editorial in The Times (extract reprinted below the fold) is headed
Faith and hope
The Anglican Church needs to be firm but not inflexible on homosexuality
Ruth Gledhill provides a related news report in Anglican world leaders face walk-out at summit on gays
The Telegraph has several stories by Jonathan Petre:
Separate Communions for primates in gay clergy row
Archbishop is facing lost cause as he tries to prevent split in world Church
Liberals want to interpret the Bible their way
BBC Northern Ireland has Anglican leaders meet in province
Toronto Globe and Mail has Anglicans grapple with rift over homosexuality
My own report for Anglicans Online can be read here:
The General Synod, the Windsor Report and the Primates Meeting
BBC Today Programme Real Audio segment: listen (4 minutes)
0744 The leaders of the world’s 38 Anglican churches begin a meeting today in Newry in which they’ll try to find a way of preventing a permanent split over homosexuality.
Belfast Telegraph Homosexuality top of the agenda at church conference
Extract from Times leader:
…If action is not forthcoming, an undisguisable schism is all but inevitable. This would be a regrettable outcome. It is one that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sought to avoid. Having burnt his fingers through his own part in the abandoned scheme to install Jeffrey John as the suffragan Bishop of Reading, Dr Williams has since sought to put the unity of the Church ahead of pursuing radical and contentious initiatives.
He will, therefore, whatever his private instincts, attempt to convince the American Church and the Anglican Church of Canada (which has endorsed same-sex blessings) to step back from these practices pending further debate. The primates from these provinces would be wise to heed him. This is an argument not just about human sexuality but where authority lies in the Anglican community. Even those most sympathetic to the decision to appoint Bishop Robinson are aware that this was a unilateral decision, taken in calculated defiance of the established procedures for governing the Church. If this action were to be ignored, there would be little to stop other Anglican bodies engaging in their own, wildly different, interpretations of Scripture. Anglicanism would then be not so much a broad church as one with little shared basis.
It should not be necessary to suspend the North American Church, but that may be the only way to avert a much deeper schism. A “cooling-off period” would be welcome, before any final and potentially explosive move to expel these provinces. American Episcopalians are themselves split on this matter. If the issue is forced, the majority, feeling pressure from the laity, could return to the fold.
To assert this is not to endorse an unduly dogmatic line on homosexuality. There is more than one side to the discussion over how best to read the Bible on this question. What is obvious, nonetheless, is that the North American Church has rashly raised the stakes here, rather than proceeding with the measured caution that has ultimately allowed the Church to welcome women priests without a catastrophic split. This controversy will doubtless be revisited again and again. But unless the primates can agree on a way forward this week, there will not be a truly international Anglican Communion within which to conduct the debate.