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Episcopal
head expresses concern about gay candidates for
California bishop

Episcopal
head expresses concern about gay candidates for
California bishop

Frank_griswold

Presiding bishop Frank Griswold (pictured), head of the U.S. Episcopal Church, has expressed concern that the diocese of California could select an openly gay bishop--three of the seven candidates have same-sex partners--in light of the rift created between the denomination and the worldwide Anglican Communion by the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

The head of the Episcopal Church said Wednesday it would create "definite difficulty" between the denomination and fellow Anglicans worldwide if the diocese of California elects an openly gay bishop. The diocese announced additional candidates for the job last week. Three of the seven candidates in the May 6 balloting have same-sex partners. The Episcopal Church caused an uproar in the worldwide Anglican Communion when it consecrated New Hampshire bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003. Robinson lives with his longtime male partner. "I do think it would be fair to say that a bishop in a same-sex relationship would create definite difficulty in the life of the Communion," presiding bishop Frank Griswold said in an interview. However, he noted that church governance allows each diocese to choose its leader, and he said it would be inappropriate for him to interfere. His comments came as Episcopal bishops ended a closed-door retreat in Hendersonville, N.C., and released a statement emphasizing their desire to remain within the 77 million-member Communion. "The unity, mission, and faithfulness of the church are matters very much in our prayers," the bishops said. It was the last House of Bishops meeting before the 2006 Episcopal General Convention, set for June 13-21 in Columbus, Ohio, which is expected to be pivotal in the Communion's efforts to remain unified. Episcopal delegates will craft a response to requests from an Anglican commission on unity, which sought a temporary halt on consecrating bishops in same-sex relationships and on developing liturgies for blessing ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples. The U.S. bishops discussed proposals for that response but did not reveal details. Griswold said the goal is to "build communion" and "build trust" with Anglicans overseas. Conservative overseas archbishops have been pressing the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, to censure the U.S. church for confirming Robinson. Episcopal leaders have apologized repeatedly for the controversy following Robinson's election, but they have not apologized for allowing his consecration to go forward. Williams told the BBC earlier this month that the Communion faces a possible breakup over the U.S. church's acceptance of Robinson and if that happens, it could take "decades to restore some sort of relationship." Also at issue is the toleration of blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples in parts of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada. (AP)

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