A meeting at Canterbury of the leaders, or primates, of the various churches that comprise the Anglican Communion have announced that they are imposing a three-year discipline on The Episcopal Church.
The Anglican Communion has been split by those supporting same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay priests and bishops, notably Episcopalians, and those who are opposed. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called the primates meeting in order to try and find a way for the Communion to remain in unity, a goal that has been threatened by walkouts.
According to the Jan. 14 statement from the primates:
Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.
…Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.
It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.