All this points to the reality of the debate in this area, and the nature of the question itself. Unlike the debate in the C of E about women in ministry, this is not a subject on which we can simply ‘agree to disagree‘, since a Church cannot believe that something is both part of and contrary to God’s will, holy and sinful at the same time. And perhaps the action in TEC gives some insight into the future of the Church of England should we at some point in the future agree to a change in our doctrine of marriage. But most telling is the absence of any concern expressed about this move effectively disenfranchising and making ‘churchless’ a sizeable minority in TEC who still adhere to orthodox Christian teaching, and the elimination of the Christian doctrine of marriage.
A final concern for me, as a member of Archbishops’ Council, has been the response of Simon Butler, who made a statement to a TEC clergy blogger criticising William Nye’s letter. Simon appears to assume that Nye is speaking for the Council (which he is clear that he isn’t) and he implies that the views of the Council on doctrine are of significance—which they are not. I don’t know whether Simon has written personal to William Nye—but surely that is the way to address such a question, and not briefing against him to people in TEC. It is no way to run a railroad.
The doctrine of the Church of England is expressed in its formularies, its canons and its liturgy. Clergy are committed to upholding and teaching these, and bishops have a particular responsibility to refute error and teach truth—because this is what it means to be part of the one, holy, apostolic and catholic church.