Gay bishop not welcome at Anglican meeting

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Bishop Gene Robinson will not be invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.

Many Anglicans wrote letters of complaint to the Archbishop about the exclusion of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire and in June it was reported that Dr Williams was reconsidering.

However, his office confirmed today that neither Bishop Robinson nor a rogue American priest who was consecrated a bishop by the Nigerian Church, Martyn Minns, will be asked to the 14th Lambeth Conference, the assembly of Anglican bishops held once every ten years.

It will take place between 16th July and 4th August 2008 in Canterbury.

Conservative and liberal branches of the worldwide Anglican communion have been at loggerheads over the issues of homosexuality and same-sex unions ever since Gene Robinson was ordained as a bishop in the US in 2003.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is spiritual head of the Anglican church worldwide.

He indicated last year that he did not want to discuss human sexuality issues at the conference, emphasising training matters instead.

In April the Archbishop said he even considered cancelling the Lambeth conference to avoid a schism.

Today in his Advent message Dr Williams said:

“Given the differences in response to the Episcopal (American Anglican) Church revealed in the responses of the primates, we simply cannot pretend that there is now a ready-made consensus on the future of relationships between (the Episcopal Church) and other provinces. Much work remains to be done.”

The Global South group of Anglican church leaders has already decided that it will boycott next year’s conference.

As many as 120 bishops will not attend unless the American part of the Anglican church repudiates its current accepting attitude towards gay clergy and relationships.

“It is their rejection of the clear teaching of the church and their continuing intransigence that have divided the church and has brought our beloved communion to the breaking point,” the Global South bishops’ committee said.

A number of American Anglican congregations have decided to place themselves under the authority of bishops in Africa who are hostile to gay people in the church.

Dr Williams had asked Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria not to install American Martyn Mimms as a bishop with pastoral responsibility for the breakaway Americans, but Akinola continued to do just that.

Last week the diocese of San Joaquin in Central California has voted to secede from the US Episcopal Church over its tolerance and growing support of gays.