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US Episcopal leader says church should remain in Anglican fold

The presiding bishop of the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church Katharine Jefferts Schori does not want her church to leave the Anglican Communion over a demand made in February by leaders of the worldwide grouping that it not ordain homosexuals as bishops.

She reiterated a call for both sides in an ongoing debate about the ordination of openly gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions to adhere to a season of "fasting" during the Lenten period over the issue.

"If we can lower the emotional reactivity in the midst of this current controversy, we just might be able to find a way to live together," Jefferts Schori said on 28 February, during a live Web cast from New York.

The Anglican Communion leaders meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, had called on the US denomination to promise that no one living in a same-sex union would be made a bishop and that it would not authorise same-sex blessing rites. Jefferts Schori made it clear she does not favour the US church leaving the worldwide Anglican grouping because of the demands.

Asked during the Web cast if the Episcopal Church could "go it alone" Jefferts Schori said: "I don’t think this church is ever alone. We have many partners around the church and partners in mission. The body of Christ is never intended to be divided in pieces."

The Anglican bishops, meeting in Dar es Salaam, gave the Episcopal Church until 30 September to comply with their request, which stems in large part over anger by church leaders in Africa, Asia and Latin America about the 2003 consecration of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as the Episcopal bishop in the US state of New Hampshire.

Jefferts Schori supported Robinson’s consecration but also signed the Dar es Salaam statement.

Earlier this week, Robinson issued a statement in which he said the Episcopal Church should not meet the demands of the Anglican primates.

(c) Ecumenical News International