Episcopalians unhappy about gay bishop in new parish
Katharine Webster | November 3, 2003
CONCORD, New Hampshire — Spurred by their opposition to the consecration of the first
openly gay Episcopal bishop, about 30 people met to form a new
congregation separate from the Episcopal Church.
"There is a liberalization move in the Episcopal Church that
finally pushed me beyond my willingness to accept it," Jarvis
Coffin, 73, said Saturday.
"I believe that sodomy is sodomy, and it has never been condoned
by any (religious) group that I'm aware of," he said.
Coffin and his wife joined the Anglican Church in America in
August, after the Rev. V. Gene Robinson's election as bishop of New
Hampshire was approved by the national Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the global Anglican Communion.
"It was like coming home," Coffin said.
The Anglican Church in America uses the old Book of Common
Prayer and rejects the ordination of women and same-sex
relationships. It is not part of the Episcopal Church.
Conservatives in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion
have threatened a split over Robinson's election and the practice
in some dioceses of blessing same-sex unions.
But Robinson has said he feels called by God to become bishop
and that he hopes he can pave the way for fuller acceptance of gays
and lesbians by the church.
His consecration is set for Sunday at the University of New
Hampshire. He will assume his duties in January, when the current
The Rev. Dean Steward, who officiated at Saturday's service and
also leads traditional Anglican congregations in Amherst and
Holderness, said that according to the Bible, homosexuality is a
Steward, who went to seminary with Robinson and thinks him "a
nice fellow," said everyone is a sinner and faces temptation.
But sinners are supposed to repent, not say that "certain things
are no longer sins," he said.
"If Robinson repented of his sins and started preaching
orthodoxy, I'd have no problem with him being a bishop," he said.
Coffin was less forgiving of Robinson, whom he called "arrogant"
for aspiring to be bishop, despite being divorced and openly gay.
"He must know the schism it's going to cause," Coffin said.
After the 4 p.m. service, the mostly elderly congregants agreed
to form All Saints Church and continue worshipping together on
Saturdays at the Concordia Lutheran Church, for the time being.
Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey, a Republican who represented
New Hampshire from 1978 to 1990, served as an usher at the service.
He declined to speak with an Associated Press reporter about his
reasons for attending. –Sapa-AP
Nigerian church rejects gay bishop, but schism not inevitable
LAGOS — The Anglican Church in Nigeria rejects the consecration of an
openly gay bishop in the United States, but a split in the world
church is not inevitable, a Nigerian archbishop said Sunday.
Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon of Kaduna, who has been appointed
to a worldwide commission set up to heal the rift in the Anglican
Communion, said Nigerian worshippers opposed active homosexuality
in the priesthood.
But he told AFP that a decision by the US Episcopalian Church to
go ahead later Sunday with the appointment of Gene Robinson as
bishop of New Hampshire would not immediately trigger a schism in
"The Nigerian Church has made it very clear that it is not in
support of the consecration. This is wrong, it's not acceptable,"
the archbishop said, in a telephone interview.
Previously the head of the Nigerian wing of the Anglican Church,
Primate Peter Akinola, has said that he would take its 17 million
believers out of communion with US members if the consecration went
But the Nigerian position has won support elsewhere in the
church, and Anglicanism's spiritual head Rowan Williams, Archbishop
of Canterbury, has called on Robinson not to take up the post.
Idowu-Fearon said the US bishops represented a small minority in
the church, and that the commission set up last week by Williams to
look at the issue of homosexuality should be given a chance to head
off a crisis.
"Let's wait until the commission has made its decision," he
The commission, which brings together bishops from the liberal
and conservative wings of the church, is due to report back by
September next year on a way out of the bitter and long-standing
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