Conservative US bishops urge liberals voluntarily to abide by gay marriage sanctions

TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry greeted the Communion Partners by letter at their spring meeting.Reuters

Conservative bishops and clergy within the US Episcopal Church have called on their delegates to next week's Anglican meeting in Zambia to refrain from voting on "doctrine or polity".

Three African provinces are boycotting the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council because the US church is sending three delegates in spite of "consequences" imposed at the Primates Meeting in Canterbury in January.

The Communion Partners, made up a group of conservative bishops and clergy in The Episcopal Church who oppose the liberal direction on gay marriage but have opted to remain within the church, said in a statement after their Easter meeting that the delegates should "refrain from voting upon matters of doctrine and polity" as agreed by the primates.

For the sake of the unity, the Episcopal Church should also not serve on ecumenical and interfaith bodies and not be appointed to internal standing committees, as agreed by the Primates, the partners said.

The partners maintain a "different theological trajectory" to that of TEC's liberal leadership. For example, members recently distanced themselves from the decision to support gay marriage.

In the statement from the Easter meeting, they say: "We continue to be concerned about Prayer Book revision in the Episcopal Church, including the possibility of change in the doctrine of marriage in our Prayer Book formularies."

The partners also thanked Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for his letter of greeting.