Member of world panel sees 'crisis' as Anglican gay dispute continues

Posted: Friday, January 16, 2004

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) An influential archbishop from the West Indies said the global Anglican Communion is ''in a state of crisis'' over the elevation of an openly gay bishop in America's Episcopal Church and the recognition of same-sex unions by some in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Archbishop Drexel Gomez said there's ''no possibility of business as usual'' with the Episcopal Church after it consecrated Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in November.

Gomez spoke at a meeting last week in Charleston of the Anglican Communion Institute, an international think tank that promotes Anglican orthodoxy.

The conservative Gomez is part of a special 17-member commission that is to report to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Sept. 30 about how to resolve the dispute over homosexuality that has created tension among Anglicans worldwide.

In related developments:

The latest Anglican branches to condemn Robinson's consecration are the 300,000-member Congo church and a province of 22,000 Anglicans in six South American nations.

England's Canon Stephen Cottrell was named bishop of Reading, replacing Canon Jeffrey John, an openly gay but celibate cleric who withdrew after conservative protests.

The 1,000-member All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, S.C., voted overwhelmingly to leave the Episcopal Church for the Anglican Mission in America, sponsored by overseas Anglican churches.

Conservatives in the North Carolina Diocese petitioned a Jan. 29-31 convention to ask Bishop Michael Curry to rescind his vote approving Robinson. Partly due to fallout over Robinson, pledges for 2004 are down $1.1 million from what the diocese originally asked.

The Town Council nixed Durham (N.H.) Evangelical Church as a site for New Hampshire Primary balloting Jan. 27 after two women complained because the conservative church hosted a protest service during Robinson's consecration.

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