Anglican leaders on Thursday temporarily restricted the role of the U.S. Episcopal Church in their global fellowship as a sanction over the American church’s acceptance of gay marriage.
Episcopalians have been barred for three years from any policy-setting positions in the Anglican Communion while a task force is formed that will try to reconcile conflicting views over sexuality in the 85-million-member family of churches. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.
The announcement came near the end of a weeklong meeting in Canterbury, England, called by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, to heal rifts over same-sex relationships and keep the Anglican Communion from splitting apart. Welby, the Anglican spiritual leader, has set a news conference Friday in Canterbury to explain the leaders’ decision.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who was installed in office less than three months ago, has been attending the meeting. He told the other leaders their vote “will bring real pain” to gays and lesbians and to Episcopalians “committed to following Jesus in the way of love and being a church that lives that love.” Still, he said he was committed to the Anglican family.