- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 16, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Leaders from five Anglican provinces said yesterday they will boycott a once-a-decade world Anglican summit because the U.S. Episcopal Church ordained an openly practicing homosexual as a bishop.

The five leaders from Africa and South America said they could not share communion with Episcopal bishops who in 2003 consecrated V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.

The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the U.S.

Yesterday’s announcement came from Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Henry Orombi of Uganda and Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, which is in South America.

“There is no serious space for those of an orthodox persuasion … to be themselves or to be taken seriously,” the archbishops said in a statement. They lead some of the largest or fastest-growing Anglican provinces in the world.

“The gathering will be diminished by their absence, and I imagine that they, themselves, will miss a gift they might have otherwise received” by attending, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said.

Anglicans are deeply divided over how they should interpret what the Bible says about truth, salvation, homosexuality and other issues. Bishop Robinson’s elevation has pushed the 77 million-member Anglican Communion to the brink of schism. Attendance at the meeting, called the Lambeth Conference, has become a focus of the tension.

The Lambeth event is set for July 16-Aug. 3 at the University of Kent in England. Several Anglican conservatives, including the five archbishops who announced their boycott yesterday, are holding a separate meeting, seen as a rival to Lambeth, June 15-22 in Israel.

The five archbishops have also offered oversight to like-minded U.S. Episcopal parishes or dioceses that are splitting from the national church after decades of disputes over sexuality, doctrine and biblical authority.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, did not invite a small number of bishops, including Bishop Robinson, to participate at Lambeth.

Earlier this month, bishops from the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia, said they would also boycott the event. Still, Archbishop Williams has said that more than 600 out of 880 bishops have accepted invitations to Lambeth thus far.


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