Bishop Nazir-Ali may not attend Lambeth

Relying on statements from his “friends”, the Sunday Telegraph reports that Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester will decline an invitation to attend Lambeth next month, and that others will join him:

In a move that marks a significant split in the established Church, at least three bishops, including the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, will decline an invitation from Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to attend the Lambeth Conference.

Up to six more bishops are understood to be considering similar action because of Dr Williams’s decision to allow controversial figures to be at the gathering of worldwide Anglican bishops, which meets only once in 10 years.

The boycott will intensify the row over gay clergy, which was reignited when The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last week that two gay priests had exchanged vows in a version of the marriage service.

. . .

Friends of Bishop Nazir-Ali, who is one of the most prominent and influential figures in the Church, said that he has made the decision on a matter of principle. He considers the Americans’ action to have been “unscriptural” and “disobedient”, and feels unable to meet those he holds responsible for causing the schism in the worldwide Church.

. . .

The Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden, and the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, will also be absent.

Bishop Benn said: “I’m not going because those who’ve torn the fabric of the Communion have been invited, and bishops from the missionary groups in America haven’t. A group of English bishops has been unhappy at the invitation list and that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not called a Primates Meeting to consult about invitations and respond to the American Church statement on gay clergy.”

Read it all here.

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