US Christians Continue to Welcome Anglican Communiqué on Episcopal Church

The Institute on Religion and Democracy is the latest US Christian body to welcome the communiqué released by the Primates of the Anglican Communion at the end of their meeting in Tanzania earlier in the month.

The communiqué issues an ultimatum to The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States over its position on human sexuality. In particular, the Church is given seven months (until September 30, 2007) to convey its definitive position on the blessing of same-sex unions and the elevation to episcopal orders of a candidate living in a same-sex relationship.

IRD Director of Anglican Action, Ralph Webb, said, "We commend the Primates for their strong reaffirmation of the Anglican Communion's standard of teaching on marriage: that it is a permanent union between one man and one woman, and that Christians are to be abstinent outside of marriage."

He added, "We commend the Primates for calling the Episcopal Church to an unequivocal, wholehearted repentance marked by an end to both all authorisations of same-sex blessings and all consents to the consecration of bishops in a same-sex relationship."

Mr Webb also commended the Primates for their pastoral concern for all Anglicans, including those in the US who have either left the Episcopal Church for other Anglican jurisdictions or who remain within the denomination but find themselves at odds with either their bishop or the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop.

He also welcomed the call from the Primates for an end to all lawsuits over property issues.

Last week, the American Anglican Council (AAC) "applauded" the Anglican Primates who met in Tanzania from 14 to 19 February for their "strong stance" in the communiqué.

The Rev Canon David C Anderson, AAC president, said, "The meeting in Dar es Salaam moved TEC firmly into the penalty box, which they will not emerge from without a true, 180-degree turn from the behaviour and theology that has become the norm in many parts of the US Church over the past several decades.

"Fudging the issues is no longer possible because the Primates are 'on to' TEC and understand that they have been saying one thing and doing another."