As leading Anglican bishops consider their response to a report that accepted the apology of the Episcopal Church for consecrating an openly gay bishop, some conservative leaders on Friday refused to break bread with the head of the U.S. arm of Anglicanism.
Seven Global South Primates declared a severely impaired relationship with the Episcopal Church when they did not participate in the Holy Eucharist during the global Primates meeting in Tanzania.
Among those absent from the service were Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya and Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Church of Nigeria, who has expressed staunch opposition to the theological views of Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the U.S. Church's actions supporting homosexuals.
"This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion," said a released statement by the absent bishops, which together represent more than 30 million of the 77 million Anglicans in the world.
"It makes clear that the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further," the statement continued. "It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with the Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired."
Coming to the same Holy Table with the U.S. primate would amount to a violation of Scripture and traditional Anglican understanding, the Global South primates further explained. They indicated that they do not believe the Episcopal Church has truly repented of its "sins."
A report released Thursday by the Anglican Communion sub-group, headed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the worldwide church body, revealed that the Episcopal Church expresses regret for "straining the bonds of affection" in the events surrounding the consecration of openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003 and offers "its sincerest apology" to those in the Communion offended.
Although the Episcopal Church did not use the precise language of the 2004 Windsor Report, which called for a moratorium on consecrating homosexuals and blessing same-sex unions, the Communion sub-group stated that the expression of regret is "sufficient to meet the request of the primates."
Anglican conservatives in the United States and in the Global South found the report "highly inadequate" in its assessment of the U.S. Anglican body.
And although the scheduled daily Eucharist is a celebration that the Global South primates take very seriously, they chose not to partake in it as Scripture teaches them to "be reconciled" before sitting with one another at the Lord's Table, the absent primates stated. And they continue to call on the Episcopal Church for "repentance."
Before the commencement of the meeting, the daily Eucharist was made optional to the primates, recognizing members who stated that they would not break bread with the U.S. presiding bishop.
Now only two days into the Primates meeting, some orthodox Anglicans remain hopeful. One unidentified orthodox bishop told VirtueOnline, a voice for global Orthodox Anglicanism, that "it ain't over till the fat lady sings" and "think Rocky Balboa."
Global South archbishops have yet to make a formal response. All responses to the sub-group report is expected by the end of the Primates meeting on Feb. 19.