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Episcopal Church: No Retreat, No Surrender, No Advance?

"All evidence suggests that the Episcopal Church is not about to reverse its course regarding the blessing of same-sex relationships." -- Ralph Webb, Anglican Action Director

Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with The Institute on Religion and Democracy

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- A writing committee of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans produced two drafts of a 'mind of the house' statement scheduled to be released today. It is widely expected that the final draft will be candid about where the Episcopal Church currently stands. However, it is not expected to contain any significant movement toward Anglican Communion leaders' (called "primates") requests for no further consents to the consecration of bishops living in a same-sex relationship and an end to same-sex blessings.

Director of Anglican Action Ralph Webb commented,

"It seems to be mostly the same song, second verse. All evidence suggests that the Episcopal Church is not about to reverse its course regarding the blessing of same-sex relationships. While the bishops clearly are divided among themselves, many of them reportedly are angry at the prospect of scaling back what is commonly called the 'full inclusion' of gays and lesbians.

"Just yesterday, Bishop Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles said at a media briefing, 'I don't believe that we'll ever turn back the clock [on the 'full inclusion' of gays and lesbians] … We're not responding to that right now.' He then went on to say that the Episcopal Church was only tasked to deal with the primates' requests!

"Bishop Bruno's response illustrates the deep-seated denial that apparently still exists among Episcopal Church leadership. The primates and orthodox Anglicans alike are hoping for signs of repentance among the Episcopal Church, not further commitment to either theology or social witness that goes against Scripture.

"Even if the House of Bishops does not come out with a strong statement advancing same-sex blessings or consents to the consecrations of bishops, a status quo statement will be of little-to-no help. Thousands of parishioners undoubtedly will continue to leave the Episcopal Church. Dioceses most likely will continue to determine whether to leave the denomination. Without some real assurance to the primates of the Episcopal Church's change of heart, the Anglican Communion probably will continue to fracture."