Episcopal conference dominated by gay row

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Bishops, priests and laymen from over 100 dioceses will gather in Ohio this week to decide on policy regarding governance and worship, with homosexuality remaining a top issue amid reports that ministers plan to apologise for the appointment of openly gay New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson.

The Episcopal Church’s 75th General Convention, which starts today, is scheduled to debate “Human rights for homosexual persons.”

The resolution, to be debated by the House of Bishops, asks “The 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirm ‘its conviction that homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens, and calls upon our society to see that such protection is provided in actuality'” as decided at the 1976 meeting.

It added, “That the 75th General Convention affirms the statement in the Windsor Report paragraph 146: “Moreover, any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care. We urge provinces to be proactive in support of the call of Lambeth Resolution 64 (1988) for them to ‘reassess, in the light of … study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude toward persons of homosexual orientation'”; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns seek ways to address this concern through the Anglican Communion Office.”

Another resolution to be looked at by the House of Deputies, seeks an apology for causing rifts in the denomination over the appointment of gay bishops, it says “That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church regrets the extent to which we have, by action and inaction, contributed to strains on communion and caused deep offence to many faithful Anglican Christians as we consented to the consecration of a bishop living openly in a same-gender union.

“Accordingly, we urge nominating committees, electing conventions, Standing Committees, and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise very considerable caution in the nomination, election, consent to, and consecration of bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

“The Windsor Report has invited the Episcopal Church to “effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges”