Are Episcopalians Facing Expulsion from the Anglican Communion?

The Episcopalian Church has taken steps that are out of step with the broader Anglican Communion to which it belongs. It has ordained an openly homosexual bishop and recently elected a female bishop who supported that move as its Presiding Bishop. The broader Anglican Communion, with large segments of more conservative members in Africa and Asia, has issued a statement asking the Episcopalian Church to basically just slow down.

Unlike more hierarchical institutions such as the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury -- the Anglican Communion's leading cleric -- cannot simply order member churches or orgainzations to change their policies. So, I was surprised when I read this article, "U.S. Episcopals Ordered To Renounce Consecration Of Gay Bishop Or Be Expelled."

When you actually read the article, you will see that no order was issued. Rather, the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a "reflection" that calls "for Anglicans around the world to forge an agreement on issues that divide them, including the roles of gay clergy and women in the church, and suggested that the U.S. Episcopal Church could be relegated to second-tier status if it is unwilling to sign the proposed covenant." In other words, if the Episcopalian Church continues to openly defy the Anglican consensus on the issue then they might be classified as some sort of "associate" of the Anglican Communion rather than a full member of it.

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