Anglican Heads Face Final Day of Meeting

The global Anglican meeting has come to its final sessions after an intense four days and no formal talk of schism in Tanzania. Anglican leaders now await an official communiqué that is expected to reflect the agreement of the gathered primates.

As the head bishops have headed into their final meeting day on Monday, some reports indicate that a group of leading conservatives may issue a minority statement, separating themselves from the worldwide Anglican Communion.

A report last week released by the Communion sub-group, headed by the denomination's head, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, had disappointed conservative Anglicans as it had accepted the apology of the Episcopal Church for consecrating an openly gay bishop in 2003 and felt the American Anglican body's response of regret was "sufficient."

Many of the conservative Anglicans in the United States and the Global South said the Episcopal Church's response did not meet the requests of the 2004 Windsor Report, which called for a moratorium on consecrating homosexuals and blessing same-sex unions.

Still divided over theological views and the issue of homosexuality with the Episcopal Church, some conservatives are seeking a parallel church within the United States and hope the communiqué today will allow for it. Robert Williams, aide to U.S. head Katharine Jefferts Schori, however, said such a structure goes contrary to Episcopal teachings and any enclave for conservatives must remain within the Episcopal Church. It must also not include several groups with links to African provinces.

The Church of Nigeria has already set up a separate outreach arm in the United States - Convocation of Anglicans in North America - which has some of the largest breakaway congregations from the Episcopal Church.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to draw up an invitation list to the decennial Lambeth 2008 conference. Rumors at the Primates meeting, however, indicate that there may not be a conference next year, according to VirtueOnline, a voice for global Orthodox Anglicanism, because of those who say they are in broken communion with Jefferts Schori.

The installment of Jefferts Schori as Episcopal head in November mounted controversy in the Anglican Communion. Her views on Jesus Christ, who she says may not be the only way to God, and her support for homosexual ordination and the blessing of same-sex unions left some conservatives unwilling to recognize her as the U.S. primate and asking for true repentance of the American church.

On Sunday, seven primates refused to participate in the Eucharist and the breaking of bread with Jefferts Schori. Over 600 people packed the Cathedral Church of Christ in Zanzibar to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the last sale of a slave there and the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in the British empire.

The final day of the meeting was scheduled to devote two sessions on the Episcopal Church and the approval of the final communiqué. The agenda may change for the completion of the communiqué by the meeting's conclusion.

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