Hardline Church leaders have formally declared the end of the worldwide Anglican Communion, saying they can no longer be associated with liberals who tolerate homosexual clergy.
The traditionalists dealt a serious blow to Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, by claiming that he can no longer hold the Church together.
The formal pronouncement of the schism is contained in an 89-page document titled The Way, the Truth and the Life, which has been drawn up by conservative Anglicans ahead of the breakaway Gafcon summit next week and which has been seen by The Telegraph.
It is supported by the heads of key African churches including Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.
Archbishop Peter Akinola, the primate of Nigeria, states in one section: “There is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified Communion.’’
Stand Firm is also in possession of this document, and while I haven’t scrutinized the entire thing, I think it’s accurate to say that those parts pertaining to the fractured nature of the communion are more descriptive than they are prescriptive. They state the obvious - granted, in unusually articulate and foreboding prose - but they do not go so far as to declare a schism as the Telegraph claims. The purpose of the document appears to be more to frame the discussions that will take place in Jerusalem, not to declare anything in the way of an official schism.
While further examination upon the release of this document may reveal something different, prudence requires that I warn everyone not to proceed from the assumption that this document declares - and thus GAFCON will open with - a declaration of an official schism.