NEWRY, Northern Ireland, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Anglican leaders have asked the U.S. and Canadian churches to withdraw from a key council because of their position on homosexuality.
The North American Anglican Churches must "consider their place within the Anglican Communion," a statement released Friday said. Top clerics were "deeply alarmed" the "standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality" had been "seriously undermined by the recent developments in North America."
The call for the churches to withdraw from the Anglican Consultive Council until 2008 came after a four day meeting of the world's Anglican leaders in Northern Ireland. If they agree they will no longer be full members of the Anglican family.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the withdrawal would "make space" for all parties to consider what to do.
Williams, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, told a news conference: "The North American churches have been told very clearly and directly about the potential cost of the actions they have taken."
Neither leaders of Canadian Anglicans nor U.S. Anglicans, known as Episcopalians, have responded to request. Such a response could take weeks.