By Kimberly Winston
(RNS) The Anglican Communion voted to censure its American branch, the Episcopal Church, during a meeting in Canterbury, England, called to reflect on the future of the communion.
The vote Thursday (Jan. 14) to suspend the Episcopal Church from
voting and decision-making for a period of three years was leaked a day
ahead of a press conference that had been scheduled for Friday.
Details of the suspension were first reported by Anglican Ink, which said they came from a leaked communique.
The vote passed by a two-thirds margin, according to the publication,
which is based in Milford, Conn., and included prominent voices among
African bishops who have loudly condemned the American church for its
liberal stance on gays.
The dramatic demotion follows a string of Episcopal Church decisions stretching back to 2003, when it elected Gene Robinson,
an openly gay man, as a bishop of New Hampshire. That decision led
dozens of U.S. churches to break away from the Episcopal Church and
declare their allegiance to a series of rival groups, including the
Anglican Church in North America.
In July, the Episcopal Church voted to allow its clergy to perform
same-sex marriages, a move not taken by the majority of churches in the
“Given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this
distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal
Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies . . . ”
a statement issued by the Anglican Communion reads. “They will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”
“The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of
Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful,
lifelong union,” the statement also notes. “The majority of those
gathered reaffirm this teaching...” (continued)