Evangelicals protest over Anglican congress invitation to Archbishop.
AN EVANGELICAL Christian society has withdrawn from a national Anglican event because the Archbishop of Canterbury has been invited. The Church Society objected to the appointment of former Archbishop of Wales, Dr Rowan Williams, as leader of the Church of England, be-cause of his views on issues such as homosexuality.
The society tabled a motion at a meeting of the Church of England Evangelical Council on Wednesday to withdraw the invitation to Dr Williams to address the National Evangelical Anglican Congress, but after a debate the motion was defeated by 25 votes to 11.
Some reportedly said the decision to invite Dr Williams was a mistake, but felt it would be ungracious to withdraw the invitation once issued.
The Church Society said, ``The invitation to Rowan Williams has caused some to pull out already and made many others feel that they cannot attend the opening.
``This has undermined the breadth of the gathering. Therefore in order to continue its principled stance, reluctantly the Church Society will no longer be formally represented at NEAC.''
The fourth such congress, and the first for 15 years, NEAC will run from September 19 to 23 in the Blackpool Winter Gardens.
Explaining the reasons for their decision, the society said, ``The Church Society urged Rowan Williams not to accept the position of Archbishop of Canterbury precisely because he holds a view that is incompatible with that of the Church of England.
``Sadly, it appears plain to us that the reluctance of some evangelicals to take a stand has encouraged radical liberals to be more bold. ``Our troubles in the Church of England are just beginning. The present turmoil in the Anglican Churches in Canada and the United States show that the radical liberal agenda will only end in schism and the destruction of the Anglican Communion.''