From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Bishops respond to Robinson election

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Wed, 6 Aug 2003 16:20:34 -0400

August 6, 2003

by Richelle Thompson
[ENS] Still reeling from the momentous decision to confirm the election
of the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson, the House of Bishops spent most of
Wednesday morning in conversation.

More than two dozen bishops asked to speak on the floor about the
house's decision Tuesday night to confirm Robinson, an openly gay man,
as bishop-elect of the Diocese of New Hampshire. Despite their
positions, nearly all the bishops talked about the difficulty of the
decision and the challenges for the future of the church and for the
unity of the body. 

"The vote yesterday was not about winners or losers, about conservatives
versus liberals or about who is right and who is wrong," said the Rt.
Rev. Victor Scantlebury, assisting bishop of Chicago. "For me, it was an
indication about God's people, the people of the Episcopal church,
attempting to discern God's will."

Each bishop has the responsibility to work toward unity in God's church
and educate members of his or her  diocese about how decisions are made.
"In our sinfulness, we will always discern God's will differently. But
our love in Christ should keep us together," Scantlebury said.

Bishop Duncan Gray of Mississippi asked his colleagues for patience and
compassion as he and others who opposed Robinson's election struggle
with the feeling of brokenness. 

"I am acutely aware that in what we have done, we have been broken, at
least in my part of the world. I pray, and it is my hope, that we have
been broken in that Eucharistic image, in order to be more fully
shared," said Gray. "But please, make no mistake: We have been broken.
It is my deepest hope, that in that brokenness, God might use us in ways
unknown and not yet understood."

The Mississippi bishop also said that he and others live in communities
that, through "much of our history, have been absolutely sure about
certain moral and cultural matters. And history has proven we were

Bishop Catherine Roskam, suffragan of New York, said many places in the
Anglican Communion also are struggling with issues of sexuality.
"Someone is always first. I believe we were called by the Spirit to do
what we did," Roskam said. "I hope we would not respond to the fear but
to the love of God."

Bishop Frank Gray, assistant in Virginia, countered that his opposition
was not rooted in fear but out of conviction. "When Canon Robinson is
introduced to this house, it's going to be a difficult time,'' he said.
"I cannot welcome him into this house, yet I do not want to be

Added Bishop James Curry, suffragan of Connecticut: "May God bless us as
we move ahead into what indeed is a different church than we were
yesterday. I believe that God's blessing, God's love, embraces us."

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