From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3531 Legislative Committee approves ratification of Canon

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Fri, 1 Aug 2003 18:07:28 +0100

ACNS 3531     |     USA     |	  1 AUGUST 2003 

Legislative Committee approves ratification of Canon Gene Robinson

by Matthew Davies 

A special hearing before the committee on the consecration of Canon Gene
Robinson as Bishop-Coadjutor of New Hampshire took place this morning at
the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, USA, in
Minneapolis. After two hours of testimony from bishops, deputies and
visitors, the legislative committee on Prayer Book and Liturgy endorsed
the ratification of the Canon Robinson's consecration.

Canon Robinson is the first openly gay man to be elected bishop in the
Anglican Communion. Some bishops, however, have admitted their
homosexuality later in their episcopacy. Reactions to his ordination
have been both strong and varied, although the landslide victory has
suggested that many clergy and laity in his diocese have every faith in
his ministry. 

During the hearing Canon Robinson said, "There are three or four people
in each parish who find this difficult. As I attend services on Sundays
there are people who are happy to come forward and say that they are not
happy about the election. Many others, however, are coming to church
expressing their full support." 

Canon Robinson was asked the question, "What is the purpose for which
our creator made us sexual beings?" He replied, "God has given us the
gift of sexuality so that we might express with our body the love we
have in our hearts. The desire we feel for one another is just a glimpse
of the desire that God has for us." 

The Rt Revd Thomas Shaw, Bishop of Massachusetts, spoke in favour of
Canon Robinson's consecration as he feels that it will make the
Episcopal Church [and the Anglican Communion] stronger and more ready to
respond to the vision of 20/20: a movement which works towards embracing
fully the stated mission of the church. 

The Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Revd John Howe, said that Gene
Robinson is an enormously likeable person and wished that was all there
was to it. He reminded the gathering, however, that it would "constitute
a massive change in the church". 

Sister Shirley Anderson from Maine spoke about Canon Robinson as being a
very prayerful priest and great administrator. "The two don't often go
together," she said. Sister Shirley added that a diocese should be
allowed to choose their own bishop. 

The Bishop of Quincy, the Rt Revd Keith Ackerman, gave quite a balanced
argument and began with the words, "I love you; this is painful." He
identified the fact that all of us are concerned about the unity of the
church. "We are a small part of the Anglican Communion and we cannot
stray away from the teaching without consequences," he said. "Each one
of us needs to vote as we think we are led by the Holy Spirit." 

Speaking about the privilege of engaging with many bishops concerning
issues that confront their countries and dioceses, the Bishop of
Washington, the Rt Revd John Chane, said, "Gene's election will reaffirm
the faith-driven ministry of this church and the Anglican Communion." 

The Rt Revd Andrew Hedtler Fairfield of North Dakota spoke to the motion
that the issue is not concerning homosexuality but honesty. "Committed
homosexual couples are new and something that the bible has said are
irrelevant," he said. "The Bible promotes the relationship of husband
and wife and Romans 1 specifically talks about this committed

Now that the Committee has endorsed the ratification, the measure will
go for vote in the House of Deputies.

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