By January 29, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Episcopal Church Punished Over Gay Marriage

Episcopal Church sanctioned by larger Anglican Communion for its stand on same-sex marriage.

Episcopal Church sanctioned by larger Anglican Communion for its stand on same-sex marriage.

Leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, voted to temporarily restrict the role of the U.S. Episcopal Church in the global Anglican community. The action is a sanction against the Episcopal Church because of its acceptance of same-sex marriage.

According to leaders, the sanctions have the effect of assigning the Episcopal Church to observer status in Anglican commissions. The sanctions stipulate that for three years the Episcopal Church will not be allowed to represent Anglicans in meetings with Christians and other faith groups or to participate in many of the Communion’s internal decisions, particularly those pertaining to doctrine or polity.

Disagreement has been present in the Communion for years over gay relationships, women’s ordination, and other issues. These disagreements were heightened in 2003 when the Episcopal Church in New York consecrated the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson.  The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back occurred last year when the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to authorize gay marriages in its churches. The Communion holds that in doing so the Episcopal Church contradicted both Scripture and traditional Anglican doctrine.

The vote to sanction is seen as a blow to the Episcopal Church and as a victory for conservative Anglicans. Earlier in the meeting a vote had been taken on an action that would have asked the Episcopal Church to voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Community for three years, during which time the Episcopal Church would have not been permitted to be present or to vote. That action failed by a vote of 15 to 20.

Before the January 14 vote African-American Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church’s newly-elected Presiding Bishop, told the church leaders that the sanctions would be painful for many in the Episcopal Church to receive. In a later elaboration he said, “For so many who are committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives love, this decision will bring real pain. For fellow disciples of Jesus in our church who are gay or lesbian, this will bring more pain. For many who have felt and been rejected by the church because of who they are, for many who have felt and been rejected by families and communities, our church opening itself in love was a sign of hope. And this will add pain on top of pain.”

Robinson posted on Twitter, “God’s judgment against those who include too many will be less harsh than the judgement against those who include too few.”

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