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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

For the record (like you don't have other sources of the news)

The text of the Archbishop’s invitation is below:

‘Dear Bishop,

I am delighted to invite you to the Lambeth Conference of 2008 and I very much look forward to our gathering together as bishops of the Anglican Communion.

The dates of the Conference are 16 July-4 August 2008 and I trust you will already have heard something of the vision for the Conference as it has been unfolding. It will focus on our equipping as bishops for leadership in mission and teaching, and it will also be an opportunity for all of us to strengthen our commitment to God’s mission and to our common life as a Communion. In connection with this latter point, we shall be devoting some time to thinking about the proposals for an Anglican Covenant, and about other ways in which we can deepen our sense of a common calling for us as interdependent members of the body of Christ.

This will be my third Lambeth Conference and I am very confident of the quality of the programme being developed for it. I want to offer my warm public thanks to all those from across the world who have worked so hard at planning this – especially the devoted Design Group under the Archbishop of Melanesia, those who attended the St Augustine’s Seminar last year, and our Conference Manager, Sue Parks. Their vision and their advice has been an inspiration at every stage so far. I am hugely excited by the possibilities the programme offers for a new and more effective style of meeting and learning, and for greater participation, which will help us grow together locally and internationally.

Because there has been quite a bit of speculation about invitations and the conditions that might be attached to them, I want to set out briefly what I think the Conference is and is not.

The Conference is a place where our experience of living out God’s mission can be shared. It is a place where we may be renewed for effective ministry. And it is a place where we can try and get more clarity about the limits of our diversity and the means of deepening our Communion, so we can speak together with conviction and clarity to the world. It is an occasion when the Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his privilege of calling his colleagues together, not to legislate but to discover and define something more about our common identity through prayer, listening to God’s Word and shared reflection. It is an occasion to rediscover the reality of the Church itself as a worldwide community united by the call and grace of Christ.

But the Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers; it is not a formal Synod or Council of the bishops of the Communion, which would require us to be absolutely clear about the standing of all the participants. An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.

At a time when our common identity seems less clear that it once did, the temptation is to move further away from each other into those circles where we only related to those who completely agree with us. But the depth and seriousness of the issues that face us require us to discuss as fully and freely as we can, and no other forum offers the same opportunities for all to hear and consider, in the context of a common waiting on the Holy Spirit.

I have said, and repeat here, that coming to the Conference does not commit you to accepting every position held by other bishops as equally legitimate or true. But I hope it does commit us all to striving together for a more effective and coherent worldwide body, working for God’s glory and Christ’s Kingdom. The Instruments of Communion have offered for this purpose a set of resources and processes, focused on the Windsor Report and the Covenant proposals. My hope is that as we gather we can trust that your acceptance of the invitation carries a willingness to work with these tools to shape our future. I urge you all most strongly to strive during the intervening period to strengthen confidence and understanding between our provinces and not to undermine it.

At this point, and with the recommendations of the Windsor Report particularly in mind, I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion. Indeed there are currently one or two cases on which I am seeking further advice. I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognises and honours the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this. Such trust is a great deal harder to sustain if there are some involved who are generally seen as fundamentally compromising the efforts towards a credible and cohesive resolution.

I look forward with enthusiasm to the Conference and hope you will be able to attend, or your successor in the event that you retire in the meantime. My wife Jane will be writing with an invitation to the Spouses Conference which will run in parallel to the Lambeth Conference. Further communication to bishops will follow soon from the Lambeth Conference Office, including details of the costs and a reply slip on which you can respond formally to this invitation. It would be a great help if these replies were received by 31 July 2007. In the meantime, should you have any queries about the Lambeth Conference itself, or if you will be retiring before the Conference, please contact the Lambeth Conference Manager at the supplied email address or consult the Lambeth Conference website

I trust you and your diocese will join with me in praying for God’s gracious blessing of our time together.

Yours in Christ,


Statement from The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson
A Statement from The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson
Bishop of New Hampshire
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson
May 22, 2007, 08:52

With regard to the Issuance of Invitations to the Lambeth Conference, 2008
May 22, 2007

It is with great disappointment that I receive word from the Archbishop of Canterbury that I will not be included in the invitation list for the Lambeth Conference, 2008. At a time when the Anglican Communion is calling for a “listening process” on the issue of homosexuality, how does it make sense to exclude gay and lesbian people from the discussion? Isn’t it time that the Bishops of the Church stop talking about us and start talking with us?!

While I appreciate the acknowledgement that I am a duly elected and consecrated Bishop of the Church, the refusal to include me among all the other duly elected and consecrated Bishops of the Church is an affront to the entire Episcopal Church. This is not about Gene Robinson, nor the Diocese of New Hampshire. It is about the American Church. It is for The Episcopal Church to respond to this divide-and-conquer challenge to our polity, and in due time, I assume we will do so. In the meantime, I will pray for Archbishop Rowan and our beloved Anglican Communion.

Bishop Robinson is currently flying to the West Coast and has no further comment at this time.

© Copyright 2005 by

Integrity Outraged At Canterbury’s Choice Of Bigotry And Discrimination Rather Than Inclusion Of Bishop Gene Robinson

620 Park Avenue #311 Rochester, NY 14607-2943

May 22, 2007

"Integrity is outraged and appalled," said Integrity President Susan Russell. "This is not only a snub of Bishop Gene Robinson but an affront to the entire U.S. Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed himself to be blackmailed by forces promoting bigotry and exclusion in the Anglican Communion. This action shows a disgraceful lack of leadership on Williams’ part."

"Integrity calls on all the bishops and the leadership of the Episcopal Church to think long and hard about whether they are willing to participate in the continued scapegoating of the gay and lesbian faithful as the price for going to the Lambeth Conference. It is purported to be a conference representing bishops from the whole Anglican Communion. That can’t happen when Rowan Williams aligns himself with those in the Communion such as Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria who violate human rights while explicitly excluding gay and lesbian voices from their midst," Russell said. "Our bishops must ask themselves this question: 'Is complicity in discrimination a price they are willing to pay for a two-week trip to Canterbury?'"

Integrity is currently contacting the leadership of the Episcopal Church and consulting with our progressive allies about this situation. We expect to make an additional statement in the near future.


The Rev. Susan Russell, President
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2741 (office)

Mr. John Gibson, Director of Communications
917-518-1120 (mobile)


The Ranter said...

You will probably disagree, but I think that Russell is acting like a typical baby boomer--throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Since +VGR can't go to Lambeth, then nobody can. TEC knew there would be problems in the worldwide church when they acted unilaterally in consecrating +VGR--it is hardly news that many primates in the global church do not see him as a real bishop... it is hardly news that there is a significant portion of TEC that disagrees with +VGR's consecration. I am surprised that the ABC invited as many people from TEC as he did, considering the way TEC has more or less said "This is our polity, we will do this our way, and if the rest of the worldwide church doesn't like it, then they are a bunch of bigoted hate-mongers."
I have articulated this a hundred times, but as this baby boomer generation dies off, I hope there is an Episcopal Church left for future generations. The baby boomers have this all or nothing attitude that polarizes congress so the dems and republicans can't or won't work together... and now we have the same thing going... Russell+ and +Quackinola are both saying "if one of my people are not invited, then nobody should go."

Mike in Texas said...

I just want to know one thing.

What kind of listening process can take place when a voice is silenced?

Bill said...

I would agree if this were merely a meeting for the Church of England folks. If that were the case, then I would say yes, they can invite or not invite anybody they wish. But this is not the case. This is supposed to be a meeting for members of the Anglican Communion. The last time I heard, TEC is part of the Anglican Communion. This is as close to a slap in the face as it comes. At a time when we should be trying to still the troubled waters, this is not a step in the right direction.

As far as the “all of nothing attitude”, I would have to say that when it comes to basic human rights, then yes, it is an all or nothing attitude. You can’t disavow discrimination some of the time. If this were a civil matter, it would be in the courts. How ludicrous is it that the civil authorities should be taking the initiative away from the Church in matters of sexual preference based discrimination.

The Ranter said...

This is not an issue of discrimination so much as it is an issue of the way different churches interpret scripture. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to see things our way. I believe homosexual behavior is still a capital crime in some nations, and here we are going and making someone who is open about practicing behavior that has traditionally been deemed as sinful into a bishop. Others are not as receptive to it as is our typically highly educated, middle and upper middle class demographic.

Lauren Gough said...

Ranter seems to believe that because there is criminalization of LGBT persons in some countries that is the reason to not invite +Robinson? What kind of backward reasoning is that?

Mike in TX has it right. + Robinson should go. +Mimms, and I agree that he is a bishop should not be invited because in essence he is not a bishop with a legitimate jurisdiction. He is like a suffragan or an assisting bishop. CANA is not a recognized jurisdiction.

"If manner of life" is the issue, then what about those bishops who have their mistresses in public view, are they being "not invited"? There are a few African bishops who have more than one "wife" I am told. The failure to invite +Robinson places him in the same category as the bishop from Zimbabwe who has been accused of murder. That IS over the top!

The Pilgrim said...

lauren stated:

"If manner of life" is the issue, then what about those bishops who have their mistresses in public view, are they being "not invited"? There are a few African bishops who have more than one "wife" I am told."

Please lauren, name one Bishop with "their mistress in public view," or name one "African Bishop" who has more than one wife. Shouldn't be too hard to do, after all, if these people are wandering the grounds of Lambeth, they have name tags on, right? so come up with the name of one polygamous African Bishop. Now I KNOW we can all name TEC Bishops with more than one wife; at least one of them has had three. But African Bishops? I don't buy it.

So, either come up with the name of a polygamous African Bishop, ar acknowledge your baseless accusation as the slanderous, racist comment it really is.

The Pilgrim said...

Mike in Texas said . . . .

"What kind of listening process can take place when a voice is silenced?"

Mike, this subject has been discussed in The Church in general for close to 2,000 years, and in TEC in particular for over 40 years.

Do you seriously think there is anything new to be brought to the table?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, Pilgrim, c'mon. Everyone who's ever been to Africa and been to Anglican churchs there knows that there are many, many bishops with many, many wives - but let one American make that claim in public and they all look at each other and shake their heads like they don't know what you are talking about.

And the thing of it is this: in that economy and in that culture, it's a necessity for those women.

So to "rat out a bishop" is to bring great heartship to the wives for a time while his 'secret' goes undercover. The bishop will continue to do well. It is the women and children who will suffer.

So, no one pushes.

It's all so very, very wrong.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, Mike, let me answer that:

YES. There is something new to be brought to the table - like the other party actually LISTENING to what LGBT people are saying.