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Calif. Diocese Seeks to Sever Ties with Episcopal Church

A California diocese is considering proposed amendments to its constitution to transfer communion from the Episcopal Church to an Anglican Province in the wake of homosexual divisions.
( [email protected] ) Oct 03, 2006 11:12 AM EDT

A California diocese is considering proposed amendments to its constitution to transfer communion from the Episcopal Church to an Anglican Province in the wake of homosexual divisions.

The Diocese of San Joaquin postponed its annual convention to Dec. 1-2 as it intends to remain in good standing with the worldwide Anglican Communion amid recent Episcopal actions over homosexuality that have wracked the church. The diocese proposed 13 amendments and additions to its constitution for consideration at the December meeting.

Much of the amendments were crossing out relations with the Episcopal Church – the U.S. representative of Anglicanism – and stressing its full communion with the head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and all Anglican provinces faithful to Scripture.

Despite the constitutional changes, the diocese made clear that it "remains true to the Apostolic teaching and practice of the Episcopal Church that it received by being part of the Anglican Communion.

"The constitutional changes currently being proposed by the diocese affect neither this faith nor practice but rather perpetuate the historic Faith of the Church in a time when these things are being challenge by others," said a released statement.

One amendment stated, "The Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin accedes to the Faith, Order and Practice of a province of that branch of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church known as the Anglican Communion."

"The Anglican Communion" replaces "the Episcopal Church in the United States of America."

The proposed changes come after a series of meetings were held in Texas and Kigali, Rwanda, where bishops addressed the homosexual divide. Episcopal bishops in Texas committed to recognize dioceses requesting a new overseer other than Presiding Bishop-Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports homosexuality, while maintaining unity. Many leaders in the Global South agreed to support conservative leaders against homosexuality and made controversial suggestions such as taking initial steps to form a separate Anglican body in the U.S.

While some, including Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, disagreed with such suggestions, the Diocese of San Joaquin found the outcome of the meetings "encouraging to those who have anticipated redefined relationships within the Anglican Communion."

Currently, eight dioceses have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for alternative primatial oversight, rejecting the leadership of Jefferts Schori, who will be installed Nov. 4.

The Episcopal Church approved the consecration of openly gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003 and elected Jefferts Schori this year to lead the U.S. church. While the Anglican Communion asked for assurance that the U.S. church will no longer consecrate gay bishops, the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution in June that fell short of the promise.

The Diocese of San Joaquin pointed out that the Episcopal Church is "no longer a member in good standing" of the Anglican Communion. And "with appropriate consultation," the diocese determines to transfer all relationships and communion from the Episcopal Church to an Anglican Province.