Thursday, June 28, 2007

More on Lambeth

Ruth Geldhill of The U.K.-based Times is reporting that Bishop Robinson will indeed be invited as a non-voting guest at Lambeth:

A number of Anglicans in England have been writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury in protest at his decision to leave Gene Robinson off the invitation list to Lambeth. I have been 'leaked' one of the letters sent back in response. Signed by Canon Flora Winfield, of his office for International, Ecumenical and Anglican Communion Affairs, it reflects on the Archbishop's concern about the 'canonical impediment' to Bishop Robinson's consecration. The letter concludes: 'The Archbishop is therefore exploring inviting Bishop Robinson to the conference in another status.' Full text printed at the end of this post.

A source tells me he will indeed be invited as an official guest, with a voice but no vote, in the same way that eight TEC delegates were invited to the ACC meeting at Nottingham. Ecumenical guests would fall into the same category. Martyn Minns will not be invited in any category however. The two more recent consecrations, including that of Bill Atwood, have not been discussed yet.

. . .

Canon Flora Winfield's letter to those enquiring about Gene Robinson's attendance at Lambeth:

'The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked me to thank you for your letter of 22 May 2007 regarding his invitation to bishops of the Anglican Communion to next year’s Lambeth Conference. The Archbishop is taking a period of study leave this summer and he has therefore asked me to respond to your letter on his behalf.

Prior to his departure, Archbishop Rowan noted carefully the level of disappointment expressed by correspondents, following his decision not to extend an invitation to Bishop Gene Robinson to attend the Lambeth Conference along with the other bishops. He stressed in his letter to the bishops that he did not take this decision lightly, but that he regarded it as appropriate in the light of the recommendations set out in the Windsor Report.

The Windsor Report counselled that in the future proper regard should be taken to the bounds of affection and interdependence between member Churches when considering the acceptability of a candidate for Episcopal appointment. While is it recognised that Bishop Robinson was duly elected and consecrated according to the canons of The Episcopal Church in view of the widespread objections to Bishop Robinson’s ministry in other Provinces of the Communion, the Windsor Report further recommend that the Archbishop ‘ exercise very considerable caution in inviting him to the councils of the Communion.

From the time of the election of Bishop Gene Robinson to See of New Hampshire, both the representatives of many Anglican Provinces and the Instruments of Communion made it clear that full recognition by the Communion could not be given to a bishop whose chosen lifestyle would, in most Provinces of the Communion, give rise to canonical impediment to his consecration as a bishop. The Archbishop has to be loyal to that widespread concern as well as bearing in mind the position of Bishop Robinson within The Episcopal Church. The Archbishop is therefore exploring inviting Bishop Robinson to the conference in another status.

Thank you once again for writing.'


Read it all.

In light of the fact that Lambeth 2008 is not expected to be a policymaking conference, Bishop Robinson's status at Lambeth may not make much of a difference. And, with the expected absence of many of the Global South Bishops, Bishop Robinson may be more welcome than even he expects.

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