Here’s the latest from the British press. I am wondering whether having the conservative dioceses in a different church would be such a bad thing. (That’s not exactly what’s under discussion in the piece below, but I put the idea forward in the hopes that we can kick it around a bit.) I don’t think they should be allowed to go and take the property with them as though it were rightfully theirs, but I do think we should work out reasonable terms, have an amicable parting that gives us the resources to start new dioceses in these jurisdictions, and get on with our lives and ministries.

‘Adoption’ plan for anti-gay dioceses

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

The Daily Telegrpah

(Filed: 11/09/2006)

Conservative Anglican leaders are exploring ways to ‘adopt’ seven American dioceses that have rejected the pro-gay agenda of their own Church.

The proposals, which would be likely to split the Church irrevocably, will be discussed at a critical summit in Africa this month attended by 24 conservative primates, who represent two thirds of Anglicans around the world.

Under the proposals, the primates would create a ‘parallel’ province for the seven dioceses in defiance of the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism.

The summit is expected to hear legal advice about whether they could appoint a representative, probably a conservative bishop in one of the dissenting dioceses, to act for them in the new organisation.

If adopted, the development would sink the hopes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, of brokering a compromise between conservatives and liberals and would provoke a formal schism.

It would be seen as a declaration of open war by liberals, and trigger a bitter ‘divorce’ battle as rival factions fight in the law courts for the Church’s wealth and property.

Tensions have been rising since the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church failed to fall into line with the conservative majority on homosexuals at its General Convention, in Ohio, in June.

Dr Williams said in a recent interview that he had nightmares that the Church of England would tear itself apart as people decided where their loyalties lay.

But he is hoping that the mainly African and Asian conservative leaders, led by the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, will back away from precipitate action.

Dr Williams has indicated that he would like to send a representative to the meeting, which is being held in Rwanda from Sept 18 to 22. There has been no invitation so far, but there is growing evidence that many of the so-called Global South primates will respond to his calls for restraint, at least until a meeting of the worldwide Church’s 38 primates next February.

Insiders predicted yesterday that the Global South summit, while reaffirming its opposition to the Episcopal Church, would overrule hardliners’ calls for immediate action.

Dr Williams also hopes that another meeting he has called between the liberal Episcopal Church leaders and American conservative bishops in New York, starting today, could pre-empt Global South action by devising a compromise.

He would like liberal leaders to strike a deal with a broad coalition of conservative bishops to allow the two groups to co-exist until after the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

In the long term, Dr Williams is preparing for a relatively amicable split by asking all the provinces to either opt in or out of a new ‘covenant’.

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