U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori indicated it would “not be in my purview” to ask Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, to resign as suggested by the primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul.
The bishop said such an act would save the Anglican Communion from falling apart.
“That’s certainly not within my purview. He’s (Bishop Robinson) the bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire and such a response would be a matter between him and his diocese and certainly not anything I would expect,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori.
Archbishop Deng Bul and his fellow bishops also issued a statement calling on both the Canadian and American churches to “refrain from ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishops or priests,” to refrain from approving same-sex blessings, and to “respect the authority of the Bible.”
The Sudanese bishops said that the consecration of Bishop Robinson and the approval by the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster of same-sex blessings has “seriously harmed the church’s witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-ethnic world.”
Bishop Robinson was not invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to attend the Lambeth Conference but Robinson did visit the conference’s Marketplace, where he signed copies of his new book, “In the Eye of the Storm,” a reflection about his faith, life and the controversy over his consecration as bishop in 2003.
Bishop Robinson said that he believes that one day the Anglican Communion will regret its rejection of gays and lesbians the way it now regrets its support for slavery in the past.
“We believed in slavery for 18 and a half centuries before we came to know God’s will for us with respect to people of colour,” he told Ecumenical News International.
Bishop Robinson said that not being in the conference “has been more painful than I thought it might be.”
“I’ve felt the exclusion profoundly. I understand that’s just the way it has to be but it’s a very odd and difficult feeling to have been separated from your own house of bishops by an external force.”
He said that he showed up, albeit at the fringes, “as a constant and steady reminder that every bishop in the Anglican Communion has gay and lesbian people in their diocese, whether they know it or not, whether they know who they are or not, whether it [homosexuality] is legal or not.”
Archbishop Deng Bul said that bishops present at the conference who have consecrated Bishop Robinson “should confess to the conference because they’ve created an outcry for the whole Anglican world.”
He added that “this is not the norm of the Anglican world.”
Archbishop Deng Bul said there are no homosexuals in the Sudan. “They have not come to the surface. We don’t have them.”
Meanwhile, some bishops of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. have apologized to bishops with more conservative views on homosexuality, saying they had no idea that their church’s consecration of Bishop Robinson “had caused such a negative impact in many parts of the Communion.”