Sydney Morning Herald
June 6, 2008
AS THE Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, prepares to leave for the conference that will decide the fate of the worldwide Anglican church, fresh trouble in North America suggests the 450-year old communion has little hope of holding together.
Archbishop Jensen is one of the leaders of 1000 conservative churchmen from 17 Anglican provinces who will gather at the Jerusalem Global Anglican Futures Conference this month. Mainly from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, they are united on one principal issue: hostility to homosexuality.
But Archbishop Jensen argues: "This dispute is not really about homosexuality. It's really about authority and who runs the church. And fairly clearly, to most of the rest of us, God runs the church through the Bible."
Plans to split the church were provoked by the 2003 decision of Episcopalians in the US to consecrate an openly gay bishop. The church has been in turmoil since.
These troubles are about to escalate. Episcopalian leaders in the US have welcomed last month's landmark decision of the Californian Supreme Court that marriage is a fundamental human right. Parishes in California plan to begin performing gay marriages as early as next week.
The old church was finished, Dr Jensen said. "Exploring the possibilities of this different organisation is now before us."