Robinson, since his election
The election of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003 embroiled the Episcopal Church in a controversy that resulted in some congregations leaving the denomination and at least nine Anglican provinces breaking ties with the U.S. church.
Speaking to the 2006 convention, Robinson, who lives with a male partner, said, “I desperately want to preserve this communion. But I can’t do so at the expense of my own integrity and that of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Robinson told Religion News Service that critics use a double standard in comparing the Episcopal Church with the rest of the Anglican Communion. “I’m not aware of a single attempt by any other church to ask for our consent on something they might be doing,” he said.
The Episcopal Church General Convention voted to exercise restraint in consecrating gay bishops at its June 13-21 meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
|Katharine Jefferts Schori, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, effective November 2006. The first woman to head the church, the 52-year-old former oceanographer was ordained 12 years ago.|
The action was in response to the 2004 Windsor Report, in which Anglican Communion leaders asked U.S. Episcopalians to halt consecrations of bishops in same-sex relationships and same-sex blessings “until some new consensus” in the Communion emerges. The issue was raised in 2003 with the Episcopal Church’s consecration of openly gay V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire (see sidebar at right).
The General Convention urged bishops and standing committees to not consent “to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” The church also expressed regret for straining ties with international Anglicans, committed to interdependence within the communion, and affirmed “effective and appropriate pastoral care for all members of this church.”
Earlier, the House of Deputies (laity and clergy), one of the convention’s two legislative bodies, rejected banning the consecration of gay bishops. Deputies approved the compromise resolution after last-minute pleas from Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and outgoing Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.
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