Saturday, 22 October 2011

Discontented Anglicans confident of global backing

The worldwide split in Anglicanism over gay issues has become linked to the concerns of some Church of England members concerned at the prospect of women bishops.

The Anglican Mission in England (AMIE), which was set up this year, shares some global Anglican leaders' concerns over the gay question, but is also keen to help Anglicans who cannot accept women bishops. And if it cannot reach agreement with the C of E, AMIE says members will look to the worldwide Anglican movement Gafcon for leadership.

Set up in 2008, Gafcon says promoting "a variety of sexual preferences" and blessing same-sex unions are part of a "false gospel". Its leaders, mostly from Africa but including senior Anglicans from other parts of the world, hold their own meetings separate from the long-established Lambeth conference, and say they represent most of the world's active Anglican churchgoers.

AMIE insists that it is determined to remain Anglican. But it has its own panel of bishops, ready to provide alternative episcopal supervision to parishes which disagree with their diocesan bishop.

One, Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, has said: "Only a few will need such oversight at the moment. "There may be others if bishops... teach that same-sex relations are equivalent to marriage or are in same-sex civil partnerships themselves, and if no provision is made for those who in conscience cannot accept women bishops." Read more

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