Gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson steps out of Anglican Conference
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Ann Turner | March 18, 2008
Bishop V. Gene Robinson has announced he will not officially participate in a planned summer conference of world Anglican leaders. Robinson declined an invitation to events at the once-a-decade Lambeth conference this summer because of restrictions organizers placed on him if he were to appear. Robinson said the limited offer caused him "considerable pain" and he would reject the "non-offer" to be part of the conference.
Bishop V. Gene Robinson
Robinson has been the center of increasing controversy since his election as the only gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in 2003. As part of the restrictions on the offer sent to him to participate in the conference, Robinson was told he would not be allowed to join in worship and study groups.
Instead, Robinson would be regulated to the "marketplace," which will be a public area with commercial stalls and "fringe groups," according to the Guardian. Robinson was also told that he would only be allowed to participate in one major event during the 20-day conference.
Saying he was "dismayed and sick-hearted" at the restrictions imposed on him should he attend Lambeth, Robinson stated, "To be hosted at the marketplace is a non-offer. It makes me wonder: if we can't sit around a table and study the Bible together, what kind of communion do we have and what are we trying to save?"
Some bishops have reportedly threatened to boycott the conference due to the way Robinson has been treated. However, Robinson has asked fellow bishops not to keep themselves from the event for his sake, saying someone has to represent the LGBT population in their communities. "You must go. You must find your voice," he said. "And somehow you have to find my voice and the voices of all the gay and lesbian people in your diocese who, for now, don�t have a voice in this setting."
Robinson asked, instead, that he be kept informed on what was happening behind the closed doors of the conference, saying "Please don't let them separate me from you. Don't let them cut me off from you."
The Lambeth Conference will be held at the University of Kent in England July 16 – August 3. Robinson does plan to travel to Kent and be available at the convention hall to anyone who wishes to speak with him. – Issued by Gay Link Content
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