Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Anglican Church and Same-Sex "Marriage"

Countless weddings have taken place there. But this wasn't just another one at St. Bartholomew the Great in London. On May 31st, two male Anglican priests were "married" at St. Bart's in a traditional ceremony conducted by a fellow priest.

And what timing. In three more weeks, many of the world's Anglican bishops--some are refusing to attend--will gather at the University of Kent in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference, held only once every ten years. They've got a lot to talk about. Their fellowship seems on the verge of becoming two different churches.

Henry Orombi, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda has called the wedding "blasphemous." An out-spoken critic of creeping liberalism in his communion, he's also called on Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of world-wide Anglicans, to do something decisive.

Tom Wright, the celebrated New Testament scholar and Christian apologist, has spoken of what he understands as biblical condemnation of homosexuality. Now that he's the Bishop of Durham (appointed in 2003) he's one of the highest-ranking leaders in the Anglican communion. One can only wonder how far his influence and persuasive powers will go on this question.

In the meantime, conservative churches in the United States may see a few of their Episcopal neighbors showing up at their worship services. (The Episcopal Church is the name of the American segment of the larger Anglican fellowship). When Gene Robinson, an openly-homosexual priest, was elected Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, at least two members of nearby Episcopal churches showed up at the Church of Christ where I was then the preacher. I don't think they cared much for our low-church "liturgy." But they cared even less for what they saw as their church's abandonment of the Bible.

Stay tuned.

4 comments:

Adam Gonnerman said...

I've been watching this Anglican story for several years. Most who are conservative in the U.S. seem to end up in the Roman Catholic Church, and others move over to Orthodox parishes. I haven't seen any firm statistics, though.

There are split-off groups that aren't considered part of the Anglican Communion, and there are also parishes in the U.S. that have placed themselves under overseas bishops. How's that for outsourcing?

It is regrettable that there will be conservatives boycotting the meeting. I understand why they are doing it, but that just means they won't have a voice or vote in what happens.

A schism seems inevitable, but it may take longer than everyone seems to think. Things with the Anglicans always seem to come to a head, with everyone saying "this is it," and then the crisis hits with parishes leaving and members dropping out, but with no real massive split.

We shall see. Interesting topic, and nice not to really "have a horse in the race." At least, for now.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Adam,

Thanks for chiming in. Always good to hear from you.

I was also disappointed to hear about the conservative boycott. Seems like they are meeting, or have already met, in Jerusalem (of all places) to hammer out a position statement among other activities.

Yes, if stuff like this just has to happen, I too take some comfort in knowing I'm not the only one who has to deal with it.

newheights said...

Ours put themselves under overseas bishops.

Frank Bellizzi said...

I guess that requires an episcopos with a good telescope?