ENS: Lambeth Invitation "not possible" for +Robinson
The Episcopal News Service, reporting from the House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen, Texas, notes that the House was informed March 10 that it is "not possible" for the Archbishop of Canterbury to issue a full invitation to include Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as a participant in this summer's Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops.
Bishop Robinson told the House that he respectfully declined an invitation to be present in the conference's "Marketplace" exhibit section.
Robinson confirmed for ENS that he plans to be in Canterbury during the July 16-August 3 once-a-decade gathering, but not as an official conference participant or observer.
Word about the invitation came in a report from three U.S. bishops, speaking in the House's late-afternoon session, who worked with Lambeth Palace staff to seek provision for Robinson's participation in the conference.
The House of Bishops is in session through March 12 at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas.
+Robinson, an openly gay man ordained a bishop in 2003, was informed last year that an invitation to the Lambeth Conference would not be extended to him at that time.
Update: Bishop Robinson's statement on the announcement (as a Word document) and further reports from the House's meeting, have been posted at the ENS site for Camp Allen updates. Bishop Robinson says:
Maybe this is what God has in mind. I had hoped to focus on the community of bishops at Lambeth, making my own contribution to its deliberations. But now, I think I will go to Lambeth thinking about gay and lesbian people around the world who will be watching what happens there. I will go to Lambeth remembering the 100 or so twenty-something's I met in Hong Kong this fall, who meet every Sunday afternoon to worship and sing God's praise in a secret catacomb of safety - because they can't be gay AND Christian in their own churches. I will be taking them to Lambeth with me. They told me that the Episcopal Church was their hope for a different, welcoming church. They told me they were counting on us. Yes, the things we do in the Episcopal Church have ramifications far, far away - and sometimes those ramifications are good.