Monday, April 16, 2007

Williams will meet with U.S. bishops

Archbishop of Canterbury will attend September gathering
Solange De Santis,
staff writer
Anglican Journal

Apr 16, 2007

Ending weeks of speculation and criticism, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said he will meet with bishops in the United States to discuss tensions in the worldwide Anglican church caused by differences over homosexuality.

Speaking at a news conference at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office in Toronto on April 16, Archbishop Williams said he will attend the regularly-scheduled fall meeting of house of bishops of the Episcopal Church, as the Anglican church is known in the United States. It is set to take place in New Orleans, Sept. 20-25. The visit comes after the U.S. bishops’ meeting in March, at which they rejected demands placed on them by the primates (senior bishops) a month earlier; they instead issued an urgent call for a consultation with Archbishop Williams.

"Whatever has been said in the press, there’s never been any suggestion I should decline that invitation. These are difficult days because I think the (global Anglican) Communion in recent years has had to face the fact that the division on certain subjects, especially human sexuality, has been getting much more deep and bitter and threatens to divide us," he said.


At the Toronto news conference, Archbishop Williams said he intends to go to the September conference with several members of the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, an internationally representative group. He said he also hoped to understand, from the meeting, the problems the primates’ request is causing for the American church, under its constitution. "I'm still waiting to see what the Episcopal Church will come up with as an alternative. The reaction was a very strongly worded protest against what they see as interference, but if not that, then what? I’ve spoken privately to people in the United States and am waiting to see," he said.


Archbishop Williams will spend April 17 at the regularly-scheduled spring meeting of the Canadian house of bishops in Niagara Falls, leading a day of retreat. He was asked what the consequences might be if the Canadian church’s governing convention, General Synod, decides at its June meeting to allow dioceses the so-called "local option" of deciding whether to bless of same-sex unions and to explore changing the marriage canon (church law) to admit gay couples.

"I won’t speculate on outcomes, but I don’t think it takes rocket science to work out that (a positive decision) will pose some problems," he said. Anglican churches in other areas of world, particularly in the southern hemisphere, are vehemently against liberalizing attitudes toward homosexuality, believing it contrary to Scripture.

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