Gay bishop will not attend forum
The Episcopal Church’s only openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, said Monday that he would not attend a global gathering of Anglicans in London this summer, telling fellow Episcopal leaders he had declined an offer that he said would not have allowed him to play any meaningful role at that meeting.
Robinson, who is attending a retreat this week in Texas with other Episcopal bishops, told the group he had decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference, after negotiations for him to participate or be granted official observer status had failed. His remarks were released by the Episcopal Church late Monday.
The Lambeth Conference is a once-a-decade gathering of leaders of the Anglican Communion, the world’s third- largest Christian denomination. It is hosted by the archbishop of Canterbury, currently the Most Rev. Rowan Williams.
The Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, sparked an uproar in 2003 when it consecrated Robinson as bishop.
The idea of an official role for Robinson at the conference had fueled tensions between the U.S. church and Anglicans overseas.
“I am dismayed and sick-hearted that we can’t sit around a table, as brothers and sisters in Christ, and study Scripture together,” Robinson said.
He told the bishops he had declined an offer that would have allowed him only to be present in the conference’s exhibit hall and participate in media interviews.
But Robinson urged other Episcopal bishops to attend the conference: “I want to say loud and clear: You must go. You must find your voice. And somehow you have to find my voice and the voices of all the gay and lesbian people in your diocese who, for now, don’t have a voice in this setting.”