Double Split for the Anglican Church?

( [email protected] ) Jun 26, 2003 01:23 PM EDT

With one of the largest Anglican parishes in the world threatening to break off from the worldwide Anglican Communion due to a debate over the election of an openly gay bishop, Anglo-Catholic priests are adding to the pressure of leaving the Church of England.

An emergency debate has been called at the General Synod for a possible decision to be made some time next month. "If there was an emergency debate at the synod, then clearly this would have quite an impact on a very crowded agenda and some very difficult decisions would have to be taken as to what would be squeezed," said David Williams, clerk to the synod. "I can say that there have already been representations to the archbishops and also to the chairman of the business committee that there should be an emergency debate, but clearly there have been some representations against."

Since the election of Dr. Jeffrey John as the Bishop of Reading, leaders from Africa and Australia and other dioceses across England have condemned it. But Anglo-Catholic priests are considering leaving the Church of England for the Roman Catholic Church if the evangelical wing is successful in forcing Dr. John out of the picture before his ordination in October. The Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church is the part of the Church that widely supports Dr. John.