Episcopal Church suspended from the Anglican Communion after years of gay rights debates.
The U.S. Episcopal Church has been temporarily suspended by Anglican leaders from their full participation in Anglican Communion. This move, the result of a long meeting, comes due to the insistence of conservative bishops. These clergy, a majority of them from Africa, are unhappy with the stance taken by American church on gay clergy and same sex marriage.
The Anglican Communion leaders, representing a total of 44 national churches, said that the Orthodox Church doctrine, as taught by the Scripture, upholds marriage between a woman and man in a lifelong and faithful union. The leaders also added that a majority of church members follow this teaching.
The effect of such a suspension is that the American Episcopal Church will be temporarily banned from Anglican Communion throughout the world. It cannot influence Anglican policy and doctrine. The tipping point of such a decision was the stance of the U.S. wing to perform marriages of the same sex. The U.S. churches were always more liberal when it came to role of women, marriage and sexuality, when compared to the African Anglicans.
Since Nigeria has greater number of Anglicans compared to the total of the U.K., Canada and U.S.A., they had the requisite votes to push their conservatism. In a joint statement, which the Anglicans drafted, the content said that the American church follows a policy regarding same sex marriage is a departure from the teaching and faith followed by majority of Anglican churches.
Even though it is too prescient to predict the events that will occur three years in the future, at a time the Episcopal Church will take a vote as a response to suspension, it is possible that the church will go back to the orthodox position on same sex marriage. If such an event occurs, the Anglicans could continue such suspension or even make it tougher. Episcopal Churches will not allowed to fill up global positions. Jeff Walton of Institute on Religion & Democracy said that in such an environment, the Episcopal Churches will be forced to maintain a distance, but they will not be exiled or thrown out.
— Robert Barnes (@scotusreporter) January 15, 2016
Such a decision made in the U.K. will have minimal impact on Episcopalians. They have become increasingly liberal post 2003 consecration of Gene Robinson, a gay priest, as the bishop of New Hampshire. The concerned action resulted in a number of U.S. churches to secede and declare allegiance to the conservative rival groups.