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US summit of bishops fails to mend Anglican divide

A meeting of bishops from the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church has failed to resolve a stalemate over issues such as the ordination of homosexuals and church authority that threatens to divide the US denomination into separate camps.

"We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face," noted 11 bishops in a statement following a three-day summit requested by Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury who also heads the worldwide Anglican Communion. "We recognised the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward."

The denomination’s outgoing presiding bishop, Frank T. Griswold, and his elected successor, Katharine Jefferts Schori, attended the 11-13 September meetings at the denomination’s national offices in New York. So did bishops from four of the seven US dioceses which have stated they do not want to be placed under the authority of Schori, the first woman to be head of the 2.1 million-member denomination.

Schori, like Griswold, supported the 2003 consecration of V. Gene Robinson as the bishop of the state of New Hampshire, something which triggered controversy as Robinson is a divorced father who is openly homosexual and lives in a same-sex relationship.

One of the bishops prominent in criticising Schori’s election, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, said it had become clear that "the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide, which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church".

(c) Ecumenical News International