Anglicans Reaffirm Exclusion of U.S., Canadian Churches for 3 Years

The Anglican Communion reaffirmed yesterday the exclusion of U.S. and Canadian churches from an important decision-making body for three years, following the American churches' defenses of their pro-homosexual stances.

Wednesday’s decision in Nottingham, England was made after a closed-door 30-28 vote, which reaffirmed a February request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) "voluntarily withdraw" from the Anglican Consultative Council, including the Inter-Anglican Finance and Administration Committee until 2008, when the matter will be taken up again.

The vote also upheld a 1998 resolution "rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture" which includes opposition to same-sex unions and the ordaining of practicing homosexuals.

After Wednesday's vote, Rev. Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, said that there had to be room for inclusion and "difference."

"It is very easy to talk about homosexuality as an issue and forget that we are talking about people. We must have the capacity to live with difference," he said according to the Guardian Unlimited.

Griswold also stated that the close vote "reveals a divide within the membership of the ACC."

While the ECUSA and the ACC leaders believe the practice of homosexuality and blessing of same-sex unions should be accepted within the church, others, such as the Anglican churches in Africa have expressed their opposition to homosexuality in the denomination.

Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria's 17.5 million member Anglican Church that has been among the vocal in opposing homosexuality, disapproved of the North American Churches efforts to defend their actions.

"It is getting worse. They are just trying to justify their defiance," he said.

On Tuesday, U.S and Canadian Churches brought forward clergy and church members to speak to the ACC on why they believed the practice of homosexuality and blessing of same-sex unions should be accepted within the church.