Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Anglican Leader Marks Feast; He Ignores Schism, Touts Service

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ex-Anglican Leader Marks Feast; He Ignores Schism, Touts Service

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIDGET MURPHY

The former spiritual leader of the Worldwide Anglican Communion steered clear of the controversy about an ordained openly gay Episcopal bishop in a sermon in Jacksonville Sunday, though he spoke privately afterward of the divide caused by the conflict.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey called the conflict a "very, very serious separation," but spoke of believers as family members, talking about how loved ones solve differences by giving those with flaring tempers some distance in order to keep the unit whole.

"Let's stay within a family that we love," he said after speaking at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral. ". . . What a good family does is find ways to hold people in. How do we provide distance and great pastoral care? It's going to require great skill on the part of bishops."

Earlier, in a celebration of the feast of St. Andrew marked by the donning of kilts and the sound of bagpipes, congregants packed the downtown church to hear a sermon from the holy man as they celebrated the service in honor of Scotland's patron saint.

It came as believers struggle with a split among the Episcopalian faithful, following the 2003 election of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, which sparked a half-dozen North Florida congregations to pull away from the Episcopal Church USA.

Carey's sermon, peppered first with jokes, then serious reflections on the life of St. Andrew, did not directly address the schism. Instead he told churchgoers that their beliefs matter, and that as Christians every day should be a day of service to their Jacksonville community.

"The future of the church never lies in our hands," Carey said. "The future of the church lies in God's hands."

Carey speaks again at 7 p.m. today at Christ Church in Ponte Vedra Beach on the topic of conflict and reconciliation. …

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