Blow to williams

Conservative Anglican church leaders have rejected the lowest denominator project of an intra-church fundamental agreement. The Archbishop of Canterbury's attempt to reconcile the world Anglican Communion is seriously flawed, the heads of influential national churches stress in a statement released Friday evening in Oxford.

The draft "AnglicanCovenant" presented under Honorary Primate Rowan Williams focuses too much on the church as an institution and neglects the teachings of Scripture, he said. The signatories, most of whom are from Africa, speak on behalf of the participants in a Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) that met in Jerusalem in June. Their bishops are leading some 230 dioceses in a boycott of the Anglican Lambeth Conference, currently meeting in Canterbury, England. Above all, they criticize the "autonomy" that Williams grants to individual provinces such as the U.S. Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada. These would have defied the sexual teachings of Scripture. The controversy over discipline and morality in the Anglican world community was rekindled in 2003 with the appointment of Gene Robinson, an avowed homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire. It threatens to divide the approximately 78 million Anglicans worldwide. The GAFCON bishops also attack a "colonialist" role by Williams within the church. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he has too much influence over the direction of the church, on the one hand, but no "formal accountability" on the other. The letter goes on to say that GAFCON does not claim to be without sin or to have an exclusively valid interpretation of the church and Holy Scripture. But their efforts to uphold the Anglican and evangelical tradition are being undermined by those in the church who "justify sin in the name of Christianity". Williams had raised the project of an "AnglicanCovenant" at a crisis summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007. Such a basic consensus is supposed to establish the unbreakable components of Anglican doctrine in a binding theological and legal framework in order to prevent "schismatic acts" in the future, as was said at the time.

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