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Carey becomes flying bishop in Virginia

A SEPTEMBER VISIT by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, to confirm candidates at Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, is being made at the invitation of the diocesan bishop, the Rt Revd Peter Lee, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

Truro Church has rejected the ministry of Bishop Lee because he supported the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Coadjutor Bishop of New Hampshire. New provision drawn up by the US House of Bishops at its spring meeting this year specified that dioceses that could not reconcile their disagreements over sexuality could appoint another bishop to provide "delegated episcopal pastoral oversight".

It is under these terms that Bishop Lee has invited Lord Carey to confirm several hundred adults and children from 11 conservative parishes in Virginia on 15 September. The Bishop had pledged at his diocesan conference in January this year that he would make provision for parishes unwilling to accept his ministry, and had extended a personal invitation to Lord Carey, the Suffragan Bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd David Jones, said on Tuesday.

"Lord Carey graciously accepted this invitation. His visit will be welcomed and appreciated," he said. After suggestions that the timing of the confirmations could be seen as provocative, coming as they do weeks before the Lambeth Commission is due to report, Canon Martyn Minns, Rector of Truro Church, said that arrangements had been made in May, when the exact schedule for the Commission was still not clear.

"We are simply getting on with the work of the gospel," he responded on Tuesday. "While we are excited about this visit, we are also very conscious that it is a sign of the serious brokenness of the Episcopal Church, and a painful reminder of our alienation from the ministry of our own bishop."

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