A group of senior Anglican clergy presented a document on Monday demanding a halt to the consecration of partnered gay and lesbian bishops, blessings for same-sex unions and cross-border interventions.
The document by the Windsor Continuation Group warned that if the three moratoria – which would maintain bans that were presented in 2004 – were not observed, the Anglican Communion was “likely to fracture.”
“The patters of action currently embraced with the continued blessings of same-sex unions and of interventions could lead to irreparable damage,” the group said in its preliminary observations at the Lambeth Conference, which brings together bishops from the Anglican Communion once every ten years
The Most Rev. Clive Handford, chair of the Windsor Continuation Group, told reporters on Monday that the moratorium would be "retrospective" but later clarified that this did not imply the resignation of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson, whose consecration in 2003 by the U.S. Episcopal Church heightened controversy in the Communion.
"We're not asking that he be defrocked. We're just saying that there should not be any more [consecrations]. We're aware that he was elected according to the processes of The Episcopal Church. Whatever we may think about that, nonetheless that it had gone through the process."
The document further recommended the “swift” formation of a "Pastoral Forum" to oversee parishes and dioceses that break from their regional denomination. In recent years, conservative congregations that split from the U.S. Episcopal Church have realigned with overseas Anglican provinces – a move U.S. Episcopal bishops have denounced.
In a bid to stop conservative congregations from seeking alternative oversight from foreign primates, the Pastoral Forum would act as as a "holding bay" for such breakaway parishes and be "a key mechanism to achieve reconciliation," according to the document.
The document's authors also stated that the forum should have the powers to respond quickly to conflict.
"We believe that the Pastoral Forum should be empowered to act in the Anglican Communion in a rapid manner to emerging threats to its life," they noted.
The document was handed out to hundreds of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, due to conclude this Sunday in Canterbury.