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U.S. Episcopal
bishops to back away from gay-inclusiveness

U.S. Episcopal
bishops to back away from gay-inclusiveness

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In the face of international pressure that has only grown since the consecration of gay bishop Gene Robinson (pictured) in 2003, the Episcopal Church is expected to step back from its support of gays and lesbians.

In the face of international pressure that has only grown since the consecration of gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003, the Episcopal Church is expected to step back from its support of gays and lesbians. According to leaks from a private meeting of bishops in North Carolina last week as well as an e-mail circulated by the bishop of Arizona, the U.S. bishops are apparently planning to present resolutions at the Anglican Communion's General Convention in June banning the blessing of same-sex unions and repenting for the consecration of Robinson, reports London's DailyTelegraph. The Episcopal bishops are also planning to block the consecration of a second gay bishop in California if the diocese there elects a lesbian or gay man in May. Of the seven candidates for the position, three are openly gay. The efforts are aimed at preventing a schism in the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch and which has been roiled by differences over the inclusion of gay and lesbian clergy and laypeople, with conservative branches in Africa and Asia--and some American parishes--threatening to bolt because of the issue. Archbishop Rowan Williams, the head of the Anglican Communion, has appealed to the U.S. branch to not move forward with full inclusion of gays, saying most recently that he didn't think the Communion could survive a split. According to the e-mail from the Right Reverend Kirk Smith of Arizona, the bishops do "not want to do anything that would further jeopardize our standing with the rest of the Communion," adding, "One might say this represents a 'go slow' approach for our church. Without backing away from decisions we have made, it is nonetheless a clear message that we will work to conform to the requests of the majority of the Anglican Communion.'' However, the general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said he doubts the bishops' plans will meet with success at the General Convention. The Reverend Richard Kirker told the DailyTelegraph, "Not even the General Convention can stop the inevitable flow of history." (The Advocate)

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