A smaller table at Lambeth, sadly

ENS has a release that says “The House of Bishops was informed March 10 that full invitation is ‘not possible’ from the Archbishop of Canterbury to include Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a participant in this summer’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops.” [See update, below]

As I’ve said many times, I think all duly elected and consecrated Anglican bishops should be issued full invitations to next summer’s Lambeth Conference. This would include not only Robinson, but Bishop Martyn Minns and other CANA bishops, for example. If we need reconciliation, how will this be achieved without face to face opportunities for conversation and conversation?


I can understand the thinking that excludes the most controversial figures, but I believe the whole would be strengthened by the inclusion of all voices. To his credit, Bishop Robinson has urged his sister and brother bishops to “stay at the table.” His taking the high ground — along with the rest of the ECUSA House of Bishops — will help the situation.

Finally, a tiny concern. I wish the ENS release identified its author. Why “staff”? And who, exactly, informed the House of the Bishops of this development? Inquiring minds want to know where the information came from and who gave it to us.

UPDATE: The Lead has useful updates. There’s an explanation from three bishops who sought +Gene Robinson’s participation at Lambeth, and there’s text of +Robinson’s reply to the invitation to attend in a vastly diminished capacity. I applaud +Robinson’s character and tone in his reply. I admire him for declining graciously what many would perceive as an insulting offer.

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6 Responses

  1. Of course, we have the usual dishonesty too. Let’s not forget the way that clever euphemisms work to avoid responsibility.

    It certainly is possible to invite Robinson. The archbishop means “I choose not to,” but casts his decision as a merely neutral measuring of what is “possible.” The archbishop has chosen the bigotry here, not merely acceded to it.

  2. Scott Gunn says:

    Right. The English are masters of this sort of indirect speech. For that matter, we seem to do a good bit of it in churches all the time. It would be refreshing to see people take responsibility for their action, and to say why they’re doing things.

    I’m curious if you think Rowan should invite others — Minns, for example.

    Peace,
    Scott

  3. I think the Archbishop should invite all the diocesan bishops of all the member provinces of the Anglican Communion, and leave it at that.

  4. Ann says:

    Gene has shown himself to be the better man in all this. Grace-filled.

  5. Bryan says:

    I agree that this is a sad situation. And I deplore the ways in which Bishop Robinson has been demonized by some on the Episcopal/Anglican Right.

    There is still this side of the matter to consider:

    http://viablogang.blogspot.com/2007/05/lambeth-invitations-and-bishop-robinson.html

    Perhaps you are right, Scott – at the end of the day, Rowan Williams should just invite everyone and let the chips fall where they may.

  6. Hexalpa says:

    Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen last month announced that the bishops of his diocese would not be attending the Lambeth Conference because of the ongoing rift over gay clergy and same-sex unions.
    All U.S. Bishops who stand in Solidarity with Bishop Robinson should do likewise.

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