The issue of homosexuality remains one of great controversy throughout the Anglican Communion.

The majority of the Anglican Communion, in particular the African, Asian, and South American churches, maintain the traditional view that homosexual behaviour is a sin. In 1998, the thirteenth Lambeth Conference decided that homosexual behaviour was "incompatible with Scripture" by a vote of 526-70.

This more conservative view is also held by most traditionalist Anglican churches who have separated from the Anglican Communion, such as the Anglican Province of Christ the King.

However many bishops of the Episcopal Church, the American province of the communion, have argued extensively in favor of the view that homosexual behavior is not a sin, and so have various dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada. Many bishops ordain homosexual clergy within their dioceses.

In 2002, the Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia, which includes the city of Vancouver, began allowing its churches to bless same-sex unions in marriage-like ceremonies. In response, bishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America, representing more than one-third of Anglican Communion members worldwide, cut their relations with the diocese.

Table of contents
1 Gay bishop controversy
2 The 2003 Lambeth Palace meeting
3 External links

Gay bishop controversy

On August 2003 the Episcopal Church elected an openly gay priest, Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. This came shortly after a similar controversy in the UK, when the homosexual Canon Jeffrey John was almost consecrated Bishop of Reading. However, at that time John agreed to withdraw in order to avoid division.

A number of Anglican provinces, including the second-largest in membership (but largest in church attendance), the Church of Nigeria, have threatened to leave the communion if a non-celibate homosexual is allowed to be consecrated a bishop. In addition, a number of priests and congregations within the Episcopal Church are also considering leaving the communion as result. Bishops in Uganda cut relations with the Diocese of New Hampshire following Robinson's consecration on November 2, 2003. The Church of Nigeria declared itself in "impaired communion" with the Episcopal Church on November 21, 2003, and nine days later announced it was planning to establish a United States branch of its province to support Nigerian Anglicans living in the U.S. Another Anglican province, the Province of Southeast Asia, broke communion with the Episcopal Church on December 2, 2003, citing Robinson's consecration as the reason for its action.

The 2003 Lambeth Palace meeting

As a result of the controversy over the ordination of homosexual bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions, on October 15, 2003, Anglican leaders from around the world met in Lambeth Palace in an attempt to avoid a schism on the issue. The day after, they released a lengthy statement: [1]

We must make clear that recent actions in New Westminster and in the Episcopal Church (USA) do not express the mind of our Communion as a whole, and these decisions jeopardise our sacramental fellowship with each other.
If his [Gene Robinson's] consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy.
In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world, and many provinces are likely to consider themselves to be out of Communion with the Episcopal Church (USA). This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA).
Similar considerations apply to the situation pertaining in the Diocese of New Westminster.

See also: Christian views of homosexuality

External links