LONDON – Conservative Anglicans in North America are inviting priests in the Church of England to take part in a clergy swap as a show of solidarity.
Formed last year by conservative Anglicans who broke away from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in North America is proposing the swap in the wake of the consecration of TEC's first partnered lesbian bishop last Saturday.
ACNA said the clergy swap would be an opportunity for Church of England parishes and clergy to express their solidarity and friendship with ACNA churches.
According to the proposal, participating clergy would be matched to churches with similar preaching and ministry styles and serve the pulpit for a period of three to four weeks in January and July or August next year.
In a letter of invitation to Church of England clergy, Paul Perkin, chair of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, said the swap would be of "mutual benefit."
"We are writing in the wake of the letter from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to the Primates of the Anglican Communion that her consecration of a woman in a partnered same-sex relationship represents the mind of the majority of elected leaders in the Episcopal Church," wrote the conservative Anglican leaders, referring to the letter from Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
"Institutionally the CofE seems to be sitting on the fence. The Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the worldwide Anglican Communion) has said that the consecration of Mary Glasspool in TEC is 'regrettable'; yet the CofE has not fully embraced ACNA," they added.
"An important contribution at this stage will be for parishes and clergy to express solidarity and friendship with clergy and parishes in ACNA," they concluded.
Following the consecration of Glasspool as one of two new suffragan bishops in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, Anglican Mainstream said The Episcopal Church should withdraw or be excluded from the Anglican Communion's representative bodies.
The consecration of Glasspool has forced traditionalists in the 77 million-member global Anglican body to further distance themselves from The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism.