Ugandan bishops will boycott Lambeth conference

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The Archbishop of Uganda said today that bishops from the country will not be attending the Lambeth conference later this year.

The conference of Anglican church leaders from across the world is held once a decade.

The 2008 gathering has been dominated by fights about the place of gay and lesbian people in the Anglican church.

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said today:

“Since this crisis has not yet been resolved, the Bishops of the Church of Uganda have resolved that they will not be participating in the Lambeth Conference.”

The Global South group of Anglican church leaders decided last year that it will boycott the conference and hold their own meeting in Jerusalem in June.

As many as 120 bishops out of the 800 invited will not attend unless the American part of the Anglican church repudiates its current accepting attitude towards gay clergy and relationships.

However, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that 70% of bishops had already accepted invitations to attend.

The 14th Lambeth Conference will take place in Canterbury between 16th July and 4th August 2008.

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, an openly gay man, was ordained as a bishop in the US in 2003.

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.

The Archbishop of Canterbury indicated in 2006 that he did not want to discuss human sexuality issues at the conference, emphasising training matters instead.

However at the launch event he said one day would be given over to discussions of gay issues.

“Gene Robinson has not been invited to the Lambeth conference and it is proving extremely difficult to see under what heading he might be invited to be around, and that is where we are,” Archbishop Williams said at the launch last month.

“To those bishops who do not wish to attend, I recognise their absolute right to choose in good faith and in conscience whether or not they can be there.

“I shall be delighted to see more rather than fewer bishops there, that is their choice, but the door is open.”