Today leaders of the Anglican Communion, the global body comprised of the Episcopal and Anglican Churches, ahead of their meeting in Canterbury tomorrow, released a statement announcing the suspension of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion over its recent decision to affirm marriages for same-sex couples.
“Bishop Curry recommitted our church to be a house of prayer for all people, and the primates’ decisions will not change the welcome that all of God’s children will find at Washington National Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington,” said Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington and Interim Dean of the National Cathedral.
The Episcopal Church is primarily the United States-based component of the Anglican Communion, a global body of Christians comprising 85 million members worldwide. Tension between the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church over its LGBT members has risen in recent years, beginning with the election of the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson to Bishop of the New Hampshire Dioceses in June of 2003.
These tensions were reignited when the Episcopal Church decided in July 2015 to change canon law to allow the affirmation of same-sex couples’ marriages among its faithful. The forthcoming suspension will last three years, while the groups attempt reconciliation.
As marriage equality has progressed around the globe, the Episcopal and Anglican churches have clashed over theological doctrine.
The Episcopal Church in the United States has stood as one of the most welcoming and inclusive communities of faith for LGBT faithful. We commend their commitment to celebrating the holy commitment of love between people of all genders.
While the next steps for the Anglican Communion are uncertain, a desire to reconcile and heal wounds caused by years of theological difference weighs heavy among many in the church laity and its leadership.