Only God can heal wounds in body of Christ – Archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Anglicans at the Fourth Global South to South Encounter in Singapore that it is only the work of God’s Spirit that can heal tensions within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Dr Rowan Williams said in a video message to the meeting this week that the recent actions of certain provinces had made the “confusion, brokenness and tension” in the Anglican family “still more acute”.

The Episcopal Church in the US voted last month to press ahead with plans to consecrate its second openly gay bishop, after Canon Mary D Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, was elected to become a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

He pointed to the Anglican Communion Covenant, a document aimed at uniting the provinces despite their divisions, as a new way of “grounding” the Communion’s mission and laying the foundation for its future.

“All of us share the concern that in this decision and action, the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family,” said Dr Williams.

“And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.

“But I hope also in your thinking about this and in your reacting to it, you’ll bear in mind that there are no quick solutions for the wounds of the body of Christ.

“It is the work of the Spirit that heals the body of Christ, not the plans or the statements of any group, or any person, or any instrument of communion.”

Glasspool will be consecrated in a ceremony next month. Her consecration has been criticised by primates, including the head of the Anglican Church in Ireland, the Most Rev Alan Harper, and the head of the Nigerian Church, the Most Rev Peter Akinola.

Pointing to the 2004 Windsor report, Archbishop Harper recently expressed his support for a moratorium on the consecration of candidates living in a same gender union.

Archbishop Akinola told the Singapore meeting it would be “nonsense” if the TEC signed up the Covenant but continued to “disregard the mind of the Communion on these matters that have caused us so much grief”.