With the Anglican
world anxiously waiting, Episcopal leaders meeting in
New Orleans weighed their response to demands that they bar
any more gay people from becoming bishops.
committee took a break late Monday after working on a
statement that could determine whether the global Anglican
fellowship splits apart.
Church, the Anglican body in the United States, caused an
uproar in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop,
V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
set a September 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge
unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or
approve an official prayer service for same-gender
A vote by the
full House of Bishops was set for Tuesday, the final day of
the Episcopal meeting.
''We are working
very closely with one another whether we are on the
conservative end of the church, the liberal, or the moderate
middle,'' said liberal Los Angeles bishop Jon Bruno.
''We're looking to make as full, clear, and complete a
response as we can.''
Bishop Ed Little,
a theological conservative from of northern Indiana who
wants to stay in the Episcopal Church, said that lay and
clergy leaders from the Anglican Communion who have
been attending the six-day meeting are pushing bishops
to make concessions.
said in essence, for the good of the church, for the good
of the communion, you have to take a step back,'' Little
million-member communion is a fellowship of churches
that trace their roots to the Church of England. It is
the third-largest Christian body in the world, behind
the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Anglicans are traditionalists who believe the Bible bans
gay relationships. But liberals, who emphasize biblical
teaching on justice and tolerance, are a majority in
the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church.
Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader,
took the unusual step of attending the meeting on its first
two days, warning Episcopal leaders behind closed
doors that they must make changes to keep the
Last year, the
top Episcopal policymaking body, the General Convention,
asked bishops to ''exercise restraint'' by not approving
candidates for bishop ''whose manner of life presents
a challenge'' to the church. However, the measure
isn't binding, and a lesbian with a female partner is
among the finalists in an upcoming election for Chicago
prayer book has no liturgy for blessing same-gender
couples, but about a dozen of the 110 U.S. dioceses allow
priests to perform the ceremonies. (Rachel Zoll, AP)