Robin Eames and John Neill, archbishops respectively of Armagh and Dublin, have issued a press release containing a joint statement concerning the election of a bishop for the diocese of New Hampshire, USA.
The statement says that this election raises grave issues for the Anglican Communion and refers to the discussion on homosexuality in which the Irish House of Bishops is currently engaged. The archbishops say: “We regret the threat to the unity of the Anglican Communion caused by this election at a time when the Christian Church faces such grave issues in a divided world.”
This statement then refers to Clause 3 of the declaration to which all Irish clergy must subscribe. This says:
“The Church of Ireland will maintain Communion with the sister Church of England, and with all other Christian Churches agreeing in the principles of this Declaration; and will set forward, so far as in it lieth, quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people.”
The statement ends as follows:
“It is clear that what happens in another part of the Anglican Communion cannot change the Church of Ireland and that we have a duty to do all that we can to maintain as high a degree of unity as possible with those from whom we differ.
Our prayer must be that God will deepen our understanding of these issues, so that we may discern a way forward that is faithful to Christ and sensitive to the needs of the Church and of the world. In the past many issues have led to division between Christian Churches and that division has often crippled the mission of the Church. It is our task today, whilst differing on many issues, to maintain the communion to which God calls us.”