Joe Giddens/PA Wire

PRIMATES MEETING OUTCOME: Episcopal Church suspended from full participation in Anglican Communion

Thu 14 Jan 2016
By Sam Hailes

Anglican Primates have suspended The Episcopal Church from full participation in the Anglican Communion for the next three years.

The decision was made at the Primates meeting in Canterbury where Anglican leaders had gathered to "reflect and pray" about the future of the Communion.

The meeting came about after The Episcopal Church in the United States went against other churches in the Communion by authorising its clergy to perform same sex marriages in July last year.

This week's meeting was called by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and was designed to stop a break up in the Anglican Communion over the issue.

However a statement released this evening said, "given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

"Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.

"The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."

The statement also said the Archbishop of Canterbury will "appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ."

The news follows four days of discussion over the church's position on homosexuality. Earlier today it was confirmed the Archbishop of Uganda had walked of the meeting amid disagreements.

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