coalition of conservative Anglican prelates is drafting a
formal ban on ordination of gays and other liberal trends
threatening to splinter the 77 million-member
alliance of churches, the head of the bloc said
Wednesday. The proposed statement would actually change
little, since nearly all members of the Anglican
Communion's so-called Global South already reject gay
clergy and such reforms as blessings of same-sex
But such a
declaration would send a message of conservative unity to
liberal wings of the communion, including the Episcopal
Church in the United States, and seek to control the
debate as worldwide Anglican leaders struggle to
clarify and unify church policies and views. Nigerian
archbishop Peter Akinola said the proposed statement, or
covenant, is being drafted at this week's gathering of
25 bishops, mainly from Africa, Asia, and Latin
America. The meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, ends Friday.
provisions in the covenant that very clearly state what it
means to be an Anglican. The dos and don'ts of an Anglican,"
said Akinola, the chairman of the Global South
grouping, which represents more than two thirds of the
Anglican Communion's members.
conservatives within the communion have been in deepening
conflict for years. It reached a crisis in 2003 when the
Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay
bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Conservatives were also dismayed by the election in June of
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first woman to head
the Episcopal Church. Some Anglican dioceses in Africa
and elsewhere ban the ordination of women.
Akinola and his
backers see moves to embrace gays and many other liberal
church movements as violations of Scripture. Akinola said
that a proposed Global South document would condemn
homosexuality and demand that any followers in
disagreement must "walk out."
The archbishop of
Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the
communion, has struggled to prevent the communion from a
complete collapse. But he is powerless to stop the
battles, which include conservative clergy in the
United States and elsewhere shifting their allegiance
to the Global South. (AP)