Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 7 News List

US church offers compromise over homosexual bishops

AP , COLUMBUS, OHIO

Conservative and liberal Episcopalians left a national meeting upset by a measure that won last-minute approval asking for restraint on electing more gay bishops.

Conservatives called the General Convention resolution meaningless since it fell far short of demands from top Anglican leaders for a moratorium.

Liberals said that the call for any restriction, no matter how mild, was offensive to gays -- and one bishop vowed to defy it.

But Episcopal leaders said that the legislation, however inadequate, was critical to buy time for talks over whether the world's Anglican churches can stay together despite their deep differences over the Bible and gay relationships.

Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who will become Episcopal presiding bishop in November, told delegates on Wednesday that she did not like the resolution, since "I am fully committed to the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in this church." But she said that it would give the church an opportunity to find a "common mind."

The Episcopal Church is the US arm of the world Anglican Communion. Many Anglican leaders were angered by the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The Pittsburgh-based Anglican Communion Network, a group of 10 conservative Episcopal dioceses and more than 900 parishes, is considering splitting from the church over the issue and will meet at the end of next month to decide its next step.

Among progressives, a group of 20 bishops issued a statement saying the language in the resolution "too much echoes past attempts by the church to limit participation of those perceived to be inadequate for full inclusion in the ordained ministry."

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