Around the blogosphere and in news outlets around the world, reactions to today’s announcement that Bishops Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns had not been invited to Lambeth has come fast and, at times, furious. Here are a few highlights.
Responses by individuals:
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, it makes no sense to exclude gay and lesbian people from that conversation. It is time that the Bishops of the Anglican Communion stop talking about gay and lesbian people 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 and its relationship to the Communion. It is for The Episcopal Church to respond to this challenge, and in due time, I assume we will do so. In the meantime, I will pray for Archbishop Rowan and our beloved Anglican Communion.
Akinola’s statement, via TitusOneNine:
Since only the first set of invitations had been sent, it is premature to conclude who will be present or absent at the conference. However, the withholding of invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.
Via Episcopal Life Online, we have comments from the presiding bishop and the House of Deputies president:
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent a short e-mail message to the House of Bishops urging “a calm approach to today’s announcement regarding 2008 Lambeth Conference invitations, a subject on which I plan to make no formal statement at this time. It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months, and the House of Bishops’ September meeting offers us a forum for further discussion.”
House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson also issued a short statement saying that “the Episcopal Church elects bishops and consents to the election of bishops in a democratic and participatory manner. The process is carried out within our Constitution and Canons, both at the General Convention and in our dioceses. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is a duly elected and consecrated bishop of this Church. Not inviting him to the Lambeth Conference causes serious concern to The Episcopal Church.”
Reactions by organizations:
In Primates Choose Bigotry Over Baptism, Integrity USA president Susan Russell says:
Integrity is outraged and appalled. 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.
Scott Gunn offers this in a release from InclusiveChurch UK:
It is regrettable that a small number of bishops are not to be invited, but recognizing the painful fractures within the Communion we understand the need for generous sacrifice on all sides. We hope that in the spirit of such sacrifice the bishops who are not receiving invitations to the conference, including Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire, might be welcome as observers.”
News stories, both religious and secular:
Anglican Journal (Canada): Lambeth invitations exclude American gay bishop
USA Today: Two bishops not invited to Anglican parley
The Living Church: No Lambeth invitation for Bishop Robinson
Associated Press (via Guardian Unlimited): Gay Bishop Kept Out of Anglican Meeting
From the blogs:
Anglican Resistance: I would not go to Lambeth: Would you?
Grandmere Mimi has insightful commentary on Robinson’s reaction here. Her observation? The listening process seems to be more about talking than listening.
Mark Harris muses, “Not inviting is shunning, pure and simple … Robinson is a Bishop in The Episcopal Church and Minns a bishop in the Church of Nigeria. Some may not like the fact that Bishop Robinson is bishop of New Hampshire and some may think Bishop Minns does not have a legitimate appointment, but this is part of our peculiar time. Either invite them both or not. But not to invite them invites a worse madness.” More of his comments here.
Andrew Gerns notes reactions from the right and the left here, adding “My personal preference is that everyone, that is all Anglican bishops, should have been invited with the only comment being the description of the conference as non-synodical and non-legislative. The Archbishop’s words about being together even with those who we disagree with would have had real force in that context.”
Greg Jones posits that this is an interesting development for those in the middle. “Maybe — perhaps by the simple act of not inviting two people who have become lightning rods for the theological/cultural warfare which plagues our era — Rowan Williams has managed to scare out the far left and far right? This is a provocative move on Williams’ part — and I’m not sure what to make of it. Part of me says — ‘Good.’ But — I’m often — terribly — wrong.”
Hat tip to Chuck Blanchard for these last two, and for his own post on the topic.
Ruth Gledhill provides more evidence that really, no one is happy with this outcome. “Martin Reynolds at LGCM, formerly Rowan’s neighbour in Wales, and a gay priest who has registered his civil partnership, is especially angry with his friend. This has not even pleased those on the other side. Anglican Mainstream accused Dr Williams of ‘ecclesiastical correctness’. One senior source said that to single out Robinson was equivalent to arresting the drug user and letting the dealers off scot free. ‘What about the consecrating bishops?’ he said. ‘What about Gregory Venables, and Peter Akinola? Would Jesus get invited to this meeting, as he was a cause of division? This will turn Gene Robinson into the victim, whereas the quarrel is with The Episcopal Church who consecrated him.'” She also provides additional round-up. (HT to Ann.)
[Final: filed 9:22 p.m. EDT]