Exodus fear from church

The Sun (England), Aug. 7, 2003

The Anglican Church was tearing itself apart last night over the appointment of its first openly homosexual bishop.

Canon Gene Robinson — a divorced father-of-two who lives with a man he wants to “marry” — is set to take up his post in America.

The move has already split the Church of England — and may lead to millions of Anglicans breaking away from the mother church.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams — world head of the church — found himself at the centre of the storm.

There were pleas for him to urgently intervene and stop Robinson’s appointment. But he only warned against rash moves — and asked for calm.

Bishops in India, Australia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Maylasia all furiously criticised the move to appoint Robinson.

And the Rev David Phillips, general secretary of the Church Society in Britain, urged a split with their American brethren. He said that if the Church of England was to survive it had to stand by what was in the Bible.

The row centres on whether Christians should stick to the scriptureswhich quotes God telling Moses: “
Leviticus 18:22′, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’)” onMouseOut=”nd()”>Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman. It is abomination

Leviticus 18:22′, CAPTION, ‘Browsing Tip’, STICKY, CLOSECOLOR, ‘white’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’)” onMouseOut=”nd()”>Thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Dr Williams said: “It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider before significant and irrevocable decisions are made.

“It will be vital to ensure that the needs of those across the communion who are gravely concerned at this development can be heard, understood and taken into account.”

Pittsburgh’s Bishop Robert Duncan — an implacable opponent of Robinson — spoke of a “pastoral emergency”.

He said gay or lesbian bishops would be breaking God’s word.

And referring to the Episcopalian Church — the US version of the Church of England — he added: “May God have mercy on His church. This body has divided itself from millions of Anglican Christians around the world.”

Others believed a gay bishop would draw in new worshippers.

The Rev Sandye Wilson said: “It’s a great day for the church. This church has finally understood that men and women created in the vision of God can be guardians of the faith — and be gay or lesbian.”

Canon Robinson, 56, who has lived with his male partner for 13 years, was elected by 62 votes to 45 to be Bishop of New Hampshire.

After the vote among US bishops, some delegates left the meeting in tears. The Rev Kendall Harman predicted “total havoc and chaos”.

Canon Robinson said after the results were announced: “God has once again brought an Easter out of Good Friday.”

American has about 3million Anglicans and there are around 70million church members across the globe. England has 26million and Nigeria 17million.

Last month a row was averted in Britain after gay clergyman Jeffrey John withdrew as new Bishop of Reading after meeting Dr Williams.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 7, 2003.
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