There is a lot of "frustration" coming out of Episcopalians, who support homosexuality, toward their presiding bishop.
In the months ahead of a September deadline when the Episcopal Church must respond to the Anglican Communion's moratorium on consecrating homosexuals and authorizing same-sex unions, liberal Episcopalians have begun to express hostility to recent decisions by their head.
"We're trying to understand why our presiding bishop thinks this is the right way to proceed," said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, a member of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, according to The Washington Post.
A month out of a critical meeting in Tanzania with the heads of Anglican provinces worldwide, U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had agreed to "a season of fasting" along with other Anglican leaders. She called the Episcopal Church to accept the primates' call in an effort to continue to be a voice at the Anglican table. Jefferts Schori, who supports the "full inclusion" of homosexuals, believes it is one of the Episcopal Church's "gifts" to help change other people's understanding about gay and lesbian Christians.
Still, while conservative Anglicans in the United States have stood in continued dissidence with the Episcopal Church and its departure from scriptural authority, including the support for the ordination of homosexuals, liberal leaders are now responding with "sadness to anger and everything in between - a lot of disappointment and frustration," according to Meyers.
Many Episcopal leaders have already declared their decision that they would choose the "full inclusion" of homosexuals over the Anglican Communion. And although Jefferts Schori affirmed the position of the Episcopal Church in making gays and lesbians an "integral part" of the body, she signed the Communion's statement last month that called for a period of restraint.
Some Episcopalians, however, are ready to reject the request of the primates. "We have to be very clear about where we are as a church," Bishop John B. Chane of Washington told The Washington Post. "We have consented to the consecration of Gene Robinson, and we have - the majority of dioceses in this country have - allowed the blessing of same-sex couples for some time."
Robinson's consecration in 2003 heightened the divide in the Episcopal Church and damaged, as many Anglican leaders say, the U.S. body's relationship with the rest of the Communion. Many of the Communion's primates are still seeking "true repentance" from the Episcopal Church for that action.
In a recent public conversation in New York, Jefferts Schori said there are "aspects of the current situation that cry out for a broader understanding on all sides. The call is to see those not as competing but as complementary Christian values."
She also pointed out, "We are being pushed toward a decision by impatient forces within and outside this church who hunger for clarity . . . If we can lower the emotional reactivity in the midst of this current controversy, we just might be able to find a way to live together."
Episcopal bishops from all 111 dioceses in the United States are scheduled to meet on Friday in Houston to consider their response to the ultimatum issued in Tanzania.