For the first time, the global organizing body of Anglicans has punished the Episcopal Church -- which is the name of the Anglican Church in the United States -- following years of heated debate with the American church over homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and the role of women clergy, the Washington Post website reports today (January 15, 2016).
The Anglican Communion's announcement yesterday that it would suspend its U.S. branch for three years from key voting positions was seen as a blow to the Episcopal Church, which allows its clergy to perform same-sex marriages, and this summer voted to include the rite in its church laws.
It was also seen as a victory for conservative Anglicans -- especially those in Africa -- who for years have been pressing the Anglican Communion to discipline the U.S. body.
"The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union," the leaders of the Anglican Communion, which represents 44 national churches, said in a statement during a meeting in Canterbury. "The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."