A commitment to “halt” the ordination of gay clergy by US Episcopal heads has been rejected by African Anglican leaders.
The US Episcopal bishops, representing the Anglican Church in that country, came under fire from conservative elements in the Church, after the consecration of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson in 2003.
The bishops made the decision to “halt” any further ordinations of gay clergy at the past week’s six-day meeting in New Orleans in a bid to meet a deadline of September 30 – which had been set by the conservative Anglicans.
The US bishops also pledged “not to authorise for use in our dioceses any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion …”
The move, however, appears to not have satisfied critical Anglican heads who have threatened to formally split from the US churches because of the issue.
Responding to the decision, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told the BBC, “That word ‘halt’ is not enough,” adding that, “What we expected to come from them is to repent – that this is a sin in the eyes of the Lord and repentance is what me, in particular, and others expected to hear coming from this church.”
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria also rejected the compromise, saying in a statement that, “Sadly it seems that our hopes were not well-founded and our pleas have once again been ignored… Instead of the change of heart (repentance) we sought, what we have been offered is merely a temporary adjustment in an unrelenting determination.”
At the meeting, the US bishops expressed disappointment at African Anglican leaders visiting the US without invitation and their consecration of conservative US clergy through their African churches.