From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Archbishop calls for calm

Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 17:08:58 -0500

Note #7877 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Archbishop calls for calm
August 7, 2003

Archbishop calls for calm

Anglicans urged not to react immediately to naming of gay bishop

By Cedric Pulford
Ecumenical News International

  LONDON - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, urged Anglican
leaders around the world not to react immediately to the confirmation of an
openly gay priest as a bishop in the United States.

On Tuesday, the General Convention of the U.S. Episcopal Church, part of the
worldwide Anglican church, approved Canon V. Gene Robinson's election as
bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire during a meeting in Minneapolis, MN.

"It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican
Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before
significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response," Williams said
after the confirmation vote.

Williams, the spiritual leader of the global Anglican church, conceded that
Robinson's election will have "a significant impact," but said it is "too
early to say what the result of that will be."

Britain's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement welcomed Robinson's appointment.
"At long last, there is at least now one part of the Anglican Communion that
has made an official and clear step towards creating a genuinely inclusive
church," said Richard Kirker, the organization's general secretary. He noted
that Robinson is scheduled to be a keynote speaker in October at a conference
sponsored by the group.

Robinson's election came one month after another gay priest, Canon Jeffrey
John, withdrew as bishop-designate of Reading, England, after a six-hour
meeting at Lambeth Palace, the London headquarters of the Archbishop of

In advance of Tuesday's vote, Williams had issued what The Daily Telegraph
newspaper in London described as "a thinly veiled appeal" to the American
church to block Robinson's appointment.

"Anxiety about our unity as a communion threatens to overshadow the gifts and
grace of God in our common life. ... Certain decisions bearing directly or
indirectly on sexuality are likely to have the effect of deepening the divide
between provinces," he wrote in a letter to fellow primates of the 38
Anglican provinces, according to the newspaper.

As leader of the 70 million-member Anglican Communion, Williams has no legal
authority over the autonomous provinces, such as the U.S. Episcopal Church.

He was able to deal with the John case directly in his role as primate of the
Canterbury province of the Church of England.

Among the communion's other instruments of unity is the Lambeth Conference, a
gathering of the world's Anglican bishops held once every 10 years. Its
decisions, however, are not legally binding. The most recent conference, in
1998, rejected "homosexual practice" as "incompatible with scripture," and
said it could "not advise the legitimizing or blessing of same-sex unions,
nor the ordination of those involved in such unions."

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