Anglicans Lack Structures to Resolve Gay Row, says Prelate

( [email protected] ) Aug 30, 2007 06:44 AM EDT

A conservative prelate said that the 77-million member Anglican Communion does not have the structures needed to overcome the current split over homosexuality.

The Most Rev Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone of America, is in Nairobi, Kenya, where he will join a controversial ceremony on Thursday to consecrate two conservative US clerics as bishops.

He told journalists, "There are no official structures to resolve things, so part of the major struggle we are going through is to work out how we actually resolve a conflict of this nature.”

Although the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is the acknowledged spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, he lacks the absolute power to command over the Communion’s 38 provinces, which each have their own authorities.

Dr Williams has struggled to find a peaceful common ground between conservatives and liberals who remain at war over homosexuality since the 2003 consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire by the US Episcopal Church.

A number of dioceses in the US Episcopal Church have accepted oversight from Anglican Churches in Africa because they no longer feel able to accept the US Church’s pro-homosexual stance.

The Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi, will consecrate the Rev Canon Bill Atwood and the Rev Bill Murdoch as Suffragan Bishops of All Saints Cathedral Nairobi to take pastoral care of congregations and clergy in the US under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The US Episcopal Church remains opposed to the consecration of Americans by Africans.

Murdoch, who is rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, told journalists, "This is a missionary action brought to this point by four years of frustration," Murdoch told the news conference.

"When America and Great Britain send missionaries to Africa it is missionary work, but when Africans send missionaries to the United States, it is boundary crossing."

Archbishop Nzimbi also defended the consecrations, telling Reuters news agency on Monday, "We are not invading other people's territory as such but preaching the gospel, the way it was brought to us, the way it is written.”

He added that schism in the Communion could be averted if liberal churches repented. "The way we can have one understanding is through repentance, that is the key word."