Bishops on both sides of the Episcopal Church’s divide over homosexuality met with church leaders Sept. 11-13 in New York City, but failed to agree on a plan to move forward.
“We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face,” said a statement from the group, which included Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion. However, they added that they were not able to come to a consensus on how to meet the needs of the seven dioceses whose bishops and standing committees have rejected the authority of Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori and called for “alternative primatial oversight.” No diocesan convention has ratified the requests.
Several of the dioceses do not ordain women and all have leaders who are conservative on the subject of homosexuality and disagree with the more-liberal views of national Episcopal leadership.
Bishops from several of the seven dioceses were present, including Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and Jack Iker of Fort Worth. Bishop Duncan, after the meeting, said it was clear that “the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church.”
Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori, who will take office in early November, said, “We’re hoping to call another meeting later this fall to continue to wrestle with the issues.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is being asked to provide the alternative oversight and asked for the meeting in an effort to find a made-in-America solution, said afterward that “there is clearly a process at work and although it hasn’t yet come to fruition, the openness and charity in which views are being shared and options discussed are nevertheless signs of hope for the future.”
With files from Episcopal News Service