Conservative bishops head for Lambeth

08 May 2008

by a staff reporter

Attending: Archbishop Greg Venables at a press conference in Nairobi last year REUTERS

Attending: Archbishop Greg Venables at a press conference in Nairobi last year REUTERS

IT IS becoming clear that the conservative case is going to be well represented at the forthcoming Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. At least two conservative bishops have confirmed that they will be attending, with the express purpose of promoting their cause.

One is the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables. He told The Times that he would attend both the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in June and the Lambeth Conference in July.

Bishop Venables has been censured in recent weeks for ministering to congregations in Canada and San Joaquin, in the US, without the permission of the Anglican leadership in those provinces, and in contravention of the Windsor process.

He told The Times: “It is clear the division is pretty final. Dialogue is the one thing that is lacking. I don’t think we are going to change people’s minds, but I think it would be wrong for us to get to a point where we acknowledge a division and try to organise it without being together and talking about it.”

The other conservative who has announced his intention to travel to Canterbury is the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Jack Iker. He said last week: “I stand in solidarity with all those bishops who have decided, as a matter of conscience, that they are unable to be at Lambeth. However, given the situation the diocese of Fort Worth finds itself in with the unfolding realignment that is taking place in Anglicanism, I think it is important for me to be there to make our case and to face our detractors.”

It is also understood that the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Revd Robert Duncan, also plans to be at Lambeth for at least part of the Conference.

The Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, reported last week that he would be unable to preach during his July visit to coincide with the Conference. Although there is no legal bar to his preaching, Bishop Robinson received a letter from the Archbishop’s office asking him not to (See comment). He says that he will do nothing to defy Dr Williams.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, told a congregation in Dallas that the official church blessing of same-sex relationships would “certainly happen in our lifetimes”. She reported that the 2009 General Convention is likely reconsider the present moratorium.

In the mean time, the conservative Anglican Communion Institute has argued that Dr Jefferts Schori is liable to presentment because of what it says are her violations of the Church’s canons. In her attempts to depose three conservatives, Bishops Cox, Schofield, and Duncan, she had failed to observe the correct procedure, it says. For example, she did not gain consent from a majority in the House of Bishops for the deposition of Bishop Cox.

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