Schisms Widen in the Anglican Communion

Primates of Uganda joins nine others in alienating the Episcopal Church USA
( [email protected] ) Jan 06, 2004 12:54 PM EST

AMPALA, Uganda – In the latest of a series of reactions against the Anglican Communion’s acceptance and blessing of homosexual unions, the primates of Uganda’s Anglican church withdrew an invitation to its American counterpart to attend the consecration of a new archbishop.

The move especially protests against November’s consecration of openly gay Gene Robinson as the bishop of New Hampshire.

The leader of the Anglican Church in Central Africa accused the Rev. Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, of lies, betrayal and promoting a “false gospel.” Several Orthodox bodies, including the Russian, Armenian, Syrian, Coptic and Ethiopian churches, have suspended ties with the Episcopal Church over the past several months. The Russian Orthodox Church said that “the consecration of a gay priest has made any communications with him and with those who consecrated him impossible”

Nine provinces of the worldwide body of 70 million Anglicans formally broke relations or entered a state of “impaired communion” with leaders in the Episcopal Church to date. The provinces include Nigeria, Rwanda, West Africa, Southeast Asia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the West Indies and Central Africa.

Bishop Peter Adebiyi of Lagos, Nigeria, the largest province with 20 million members, said Nigerians would ignore the Episcopal Church and set up parishes in the United States, immediately following the consecration.

“We will not communicate with (Episcopal Church) in terms of worship or visitation or work on transfer to any of the dioceses in the U.S.,” Adebiyi said. “Priests from there will not be allowed to work or visit the Church in Nigeria.”

Southeast Asian primates convened a special meeting in Malaysia and broke ties with the Episcopal Church declaring the would remain severed, "until and unless they repent of their action and return to embrace biblical truths.”

In the United States, the Rev. John A. M. Guernsey of the American Anglican Council warned conservatives in the Episcopal Church last November to be ready for whatever comes next.

“We don’t know what will come; we don’t know what it will cost us. It may cost us our reputation, as we are vilified and ridiculed. It may cost the church buildings, which we and the saints before us have sacrificially labored and given to build. It may cost us our ministries, as some may even seek to strip us of our priesthood.”