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LAMBETH: Eames Warns of Divisions over Gay Clergy

Eames Warns of Divisions over Gay Clergy

Feb 11 2004

By Billy Kennedy
Churches Correspondent

CHURCH of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eames warned yesterday that the divisions, which are emerging within Anglicanism on the issue of ordaining homosexual clergy, are very serious.

Dr Eames, however, speaking ahead of the first full meeting of the International Commission set up to examine Anglican structures and relations, said there is a widespread desire to maintain Anglicanism as a world communion.

"Sincerely-held views are being expressed on all sides of the argument, but it is vital that ways are found of dealing with division on any issue which will stand the test of time,'' said Dr Eames, who chairs the 17-member Commission.

"For Anglicanism to remain a world communion, decisions need to be taken which will allow autonomy to relate to communion and relationships, while acknowledging the on-going mission of the church throughout the world,'' he added.

The International Commission, set-up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and consisting of senior clerics, theologians, academics and lawyers, will consider at its deliberations in England this week what ways the highest degree of communion and relationships can be maintained given the serious divisions within the Church.

There has been large-scale disquiet in the Anglican communions since Canon Gene Robinson was elected and ordained as the first openly gay bishop, in the diocese of New Hampshire in the United States.

The Commission's task will be to analysis the implications for Anglicanism from the ordination.

The Commission will report to the Archbishop of Canterbury next September and its findings will be submitted to the various primates and provinces shortly afterwards.

Anglican churches in Africa, the Far East and South America has said they will sever links with the American church. Within the Episcopal Church of the United States a group of those opposed to recent actions have also formed a network in opposition.

END

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