IT seems that the Archbishop of Canterbury's long fight to maintain the unity of the Anglican Church worldwide is about to be lost. Last week he flew to California to plead with Anglicans there not to break the moratorium on gay ordinations that he negotiated four years ago but his words were ignored.

Instead a General Convention of the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church passed a resolution that “Acknowledges that God has called and may call any individual in the Church to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, in accordance with the discernment process set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the Church.” The meaning of the resolution could not be clearer -- that anyone can be ordained regardless of sexuality. There is a final stage before this motion is officially adopted by the Episcopal bishops in the course of the next week but this is expected to be a formality. Speaking at the General Synod meeting in York yesterday, Dr Rowan Williams said, “I regret there is no will to observe a significant part of the moratorium.” A schism now seems inevitable despite Dr Williams' six-years struggle since his enthronement to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion. In the United States Episcopalians who do not agree with their leadership have already formed a new province which they have asked Dr Williams and the General Synod of the Church of England to recognise.


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