Schism in the Anglican Communion over homosexuality
Events during 2006: September to December
2006-SEP: Dissention in San Diego diocese:
Holy Trinity Church in Ocean Beach, CA voted on SEP-06 to leave the San Diego
diocese and remain in its building as an independent Anglican church.
The Rev. Eric Menees of Grace Episcopal Church in San Marcos, CA, told his
congregation on SEP-03 that he will be founding a new church in the area to be
called the Anglican Church of the Resurrection. It will be aligned with
Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Argentina Diocese.
Congregations in Fallbrook and Oceanside, CA voted to change the names of
their churches from Episcopal to Anglican.
In Vista, CA, a priest has quit the Episcopal church and plans to found a new
A congregation in Alpine also voted to leave the Episcopal Church earlier in
2006-SEP: Camp Allen, TX meeting:
Twenty two diocesan bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA met at Camp Allen in
Texas to discuss "the issue" and the Archbishop of Canterbury's proposed
Anglican Covenant. One bishop had to leave the meeting early; the remaining 21 signed a letter
to the House of Bishops supporting the recommendations of the Windsor Report as
the way to "heal the breaches within our own Communion and in our ecumenical
relationships." The bishops expressed concern
about what they felt was an inadequate response to the Windsor Report at the
church's 2006 General Assembly. They also supported the Anglican Covenant proposal. The letter said, in part:
"We recognize that many congregations within The
Episcopal Church need a safe space within which to live out the integrity of
their faith in compliance with the Windsor Report. We also recognize that
there are some congregations that do not accept the provisions of the
Windsor Report. We pledge ourselves to work with our Episcopal colleagues
to care for all God’s people in our dioceses."
"Within our group are needs for various levels of response to the
conflicts in the church. While here we have worked diligently to achieve
unity across these lines. We recognize the need of some among us for an
alternative primatial relationship. ...
It is our hope and prayer that through our fellowship we can contribute
to the renewal of our Province’s life within the Communion. We invited
others who share our concern and position to join us in our common work on
behalf of the church ..." 2,3
The Bishops of Durham and Winchester attended the meeting and delivered a "helpful
briefing from the Archbishop of Canterbury."
Via Media USA is an Anglican organization with chapters in 12 dioceses,
including the those that have requested alternative primatial oversight (APO).
"... an alliance of associations of laity and
clergy, is committed to promoting and protecting the faith, unity, and
vitality of The Episcopal Church as the American expression of Anglican
Dr. Christopher Wilkins, facilitator of Via Media USA, wrote.
"The statement from Camp Allen shows Episcopalians, once again,
attempting to find ways to express their longstanding commitment to other
Anglican Communion provinces, to the faith we have received, and the truth
to which it bears witness. It even flirts with accepting greater division in
the church as the price of its continued unity, which would be difficult for
the church to accept." 5
2006-SEP: Global South Primates meeting:
Primates from 20 "Global South Provinces" of the Anglican Communion
met at Kigali, Rwandi from SEP-19 to 22. The provinces represent more than 70%
of the total active membership of the worldwide Communion. They support the
Anglican Covenant concept and the creation of the Covenant Design Group
under the leadership of Archbishop Drexel Gomez. Their statement said:
"We believe that an Anglican Covenant will demonstrate to the world that
it is possible to be a truly global communion where differences are not
affirmed at the expense of faith and truth but within the framework of a
common confession of faith and mutual accountability." 6
They expressed concern about the new primate of the Episcopal Church, USA:
Katharine Jefferts Schori at least in part because of her views on human
sexuality. Not stated, but of possibly overwhelming importance, is that she is
the first female primate in the history of the Communion. She was elected at the
time when only a bare majority of provinces allow women to be ordained, and only
a handful permit the consecration of female priests as bishops. Their statement
"At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not
be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table
with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative
of The Episcopal Church [,USA]. Since she cannot represent those dioceses
and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we
propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the
meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations."
Having one province, the United States, represented by two of its leaders,
with some primates refusing even to recognize the democratically elected primate
of the Episcopal Church, USA is a major step towards a schism in the Communion.
Dr. Christopher Wilkins, facilitator of Via Media USA, in comparing the Camp
Allen and Kigali statements, said:
"By contrast, and as though in rebuke, the Global South Primates' Kigali
Communiqué is a breathtaking rejection of the entire Episcopal Church,
except for those segments of it that the signatories consider truly
The Episcopal News Service stated:
"Wilkins said that an Anglican Communion province in North America
founded in opposition to the Episcopal Church, which the Kigali statement
envisions 'would be a mistake'."
"No matter how many people might cheer for it, or believe their Christian
faith to require it, it would be a church founded in large measure on the
exclusion and rejection of a certain kind of human being -- a gay or lesbian
human being -- and of anyone (and, indeed, an entire church) who sees
Christ's face and faith in such persons. Can this truly be how we live out
Christ's love in our time? ... As it has been framed, such compliance would
diminish the faithful and distinctive witness that has characterized the
Episcopal Church since its founding. We, surely, can do better."
2006-NOV: Churches and a diocese moving towards schism:
Two historic congregations in the diocese of Virginia are tending towards
separating from the Episcopal Church. The vestries of Truro Church in Fairfax,
VA, and in the Falls Church in Falls Church, VA, have voted to recommend the
split. The membership of the congregations will vote between DEC-10 and DEC-16
whether to approve the break.
As noted above, San Joaquin diocese in Fresno, CA, is moving towards a break.
The membership will vote on DEC-01/02 whether to fully break with the
denomination. If they approve the measure, they will be the first diocese to do
so. San Joaquin is one of the very few diocese who refuses to ordain women.
Between 2003 and 2005, the Episcopal Church, USA has lost about 5% of its
membership. Speculation is that the main reason is disagreement with the
church's policies of equality for women and homosexuals. They now have about
2.21 million members. 7
2006-DEC: Eight Anglican churches in Virginia vote to leave:
Concerned about the Episcopal Church, USA's policies on sexual
orientation, eight congregations in northern Virginia voted to leave the
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. In the 275 year old Falls Church, the vote was
1,228 to 127 to leave the diocese, and 1,279 to 77 to try to keep control of the
congregation's property. The Rev, John Yates said:
"God is going to lead this church forward in ministry. This whole
situation isn't about us. It's about the next generation and the next
and the next ... For the sake of the children, we must be faithful to
Kim Cooke, a former vestry member, said:
"I wasn't at all surprised. This church has always made a point of
being faithful to the Scriptures and God. When faced with a choice
between man and God, it was an easy choice."
The Washington Times reports:
"Most of the departing churches will affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a Fairfax-based
organization under the Anglican Diocese of Nigeria, headed up by
Archbishop Peter J. Akinola. Martyn Minns, the rector at Truro Church in
Fairfax, was appointed its bishop and will head its approximately 25
Tom Wilson, senior warden at the Falls Church said of Mr. Yates and Bishop
"This was the fruit of those two rectors tending their vineyards. By
standing in their pulpits for many years, teaching the Bible to their
congregants, when it came to this crisis, their congregants responded with
an overwhelming vote." 8
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Gary Warth, "San Marcos priest leaves Episcopal church," Orange
County Times, 2006-SEP-06, at:
- Steve Waring, "Bishops release Camp Allen statement," 2006-SEP-22,
- "Episcopal bishops meeting in Texas send letter to House of Bishops,"
Episcopal News Service, 2006-SEP-22, at:
- Mary Frances Schjonberg, "Observers respond to Kigali, Camp Allen
statements," Episcopal News Service, 2006-SEP-22, at:
- Text of the Kigali Communiqué issued by the Global South Primates Meeting on
- "Conservative Episcopal parishes, diocese moving
toward break with church," Townhall, 2006-NOV-16, at:
- Julia Duin, "8 Virginia flocks break away," The Washington Times,
Copyright © 2006 & 2007 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2007-FEB-26
Author: B.A. Robinson