Responses from Anglican Primates
to the consent to the Election of Gene Robinson

 

Statement from Archbishop Drexel Gomez
of the West Indies


The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), meeting in General Convention in Minneapolis, confirmed the Election of Canon Gene Robinson as the next bishop of New Hampshire on Tuesday, August, 5th, 2003. The following points are issues with respect to the confirmation:

I. In taking this unprecedented step the General Convention of ECUSA has abandoned the traditional teaching and discipline of the church by electing an openly gay bishop, living in a sexual partnership outside of Christian marriage.

The world-wide Anglican Communion is comprised of thirty-eight (38) independent Provinces. ECUSA is the first Province within the Communion to confer legitimacy on homosexual practice as an authentic form of Christian discipleship. The overwhelming majority of Anglicans across the Communion stands opposed to changes in the Church's traditional teaching and practice. This was reaffirmed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, where it was agreed that "in view of the teaching of Scripture" the church - upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.

The Bishops at Lambeth 1998 also affirmed, by a significant majority, "that there are powerful biblical and theological arguments to justify the historic Christian understanding that sexually active homosexual relationships do not represent a faithful witness in chastity and holiness for disciples of Christ."

A majority of Anglicans across the Communion are convinced that the action of the General Convention of ECUSA in confirming the election of Canon Gene Robinson is incompatible with scripture.

II. The action of General Convention provides a classic example of unilateral action on the part of a Province without due regard for the remaining thirty-seven Provinces of the Communion.

In a recent letter to the Primates dated 23 July, 2003, the Archbishop of Canterbury, addressing the true nature of communion, wisely stated, "It (communion) means that we have ways of being accountable to each other, so that decisions in any one local church are not taken without consultation and awareness of the consequences a decision may have for other churches."

In 1991, the General Convention of ECUSA in resolution B-020 recommended "that the office of the Presiding Bishop now be directed to propose to all Provinces of the Anglican Communion and all churches with whom we are in ecumenical dialogue that a broad process of consultation be initiated on an official pan-Anglican and ecumenical level as a bold step forward in the consideration of these potentially divisive issues which should not be resolved by the Episcopal Church on its own."

In 2003, the General Convention chose to ignore its earlier prudential decision by acting on its own and thereby placing at risk the unity and credibility of the Communion.


III. The action of General Convention poses a grave threat to the survival and coherence of our Communion in which each Province, although autonomous, is connected to the worldwide fellowship.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in his letter of 23 July, 2003, reminded us that, as Anglicans, “We do not have a central executive authority in our Communion; this means that we are quite vulnerable in times of deep disagreement, and need more than ever to pay attention to one another.”

Many Anglicans across the Communion experience this vulnerability as “pastoral confusion” when the designation “Anglican” is perceived and experienced as denoting contradictory presentations of faith and practice. The situation at the General Convention, bears ample testimony to this reality.

It now seems inevitable that, the convergence of the absence of a central executive authority in our Communion coupled with the militant advance of revisionist attacks on the historic faith and practice of the Church, will definitely create some realignment within Anglicanism. There are many across our Communion who remain convinced that the revisionist presentation of the Gospel does not represent the “truth as found in Jesus.”

Anglicans across the Communion will be forced to re-define the nature of inter-Anglican relationships. Do we seek to grow in communion or do we simply become a federation of churches?

IV. The Province of the West Indies continues to support the Lambeth 1998 resolution on homosexual practice and remains opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions. No diocesan synod in our Province would countenance a gay bishop living in an openly sexual relationship outside of Christian marriage!

While we remain committed to the maintenance of Communion, we cannot compromise the integrity of our mission to uphold the faith “once delivered to the saints.” In the present situation we applaud the noble efforts of the Bishops, Clergy and Laity in ECUSA who upheld the church's teaching in the wake of the revisionist onslaught. While we encourage them to remain faithful we pray that a Communion response to our present difficulties will be given urgent attention.

V. The Diocese of The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, at its annual Synod in October 2002, passed a unanimous resolution reaffirming the Church's traditional teaching on homosexual relations and same-sex blessings. The Synod also requested the Archbishop to seek Provincial endorsement of a cessation of relationship with dioceses or provinces who encourage such teaching and practice. The position of this diocese remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, Anglicans in our diocese and across our Province are encouraged topiary earnestly for the guidance of the Holy Spirit on all those persons who will be making decisions in the light of the actions taken at ECUSA's General Convention 2003.

 

       
 

Statement from Rt. Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis
Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa


It is with the deepest sadness and alarm that I have learned of the confirmation by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.

We have a great respect for the church in North America but we cannot comprehend a decision to elect as bishop a man who has forsaken his wife and the vows he made to her in order to live in a sexual relationship with another man outside the bonds of his marriage.

We feel profoundly let down, as this decision will unquestionably damage our interfaith relations with our Muslim friends among whom we live. It will also have a negative impact on our relations with the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in our area, which continue to hold fast to the apostolic faith and teachings from the first century. We will definitely be seen by them now as heretical.

We had not expected this to be done to us by brothers and sisters who are in communion with us. We had expected that they would think of us before taking such a grave step. It showed great disrespect to the majority of the members of the Anglican Communion and the church worldwide. In fact, the decision shows disregard for the value of being in communion and part of the Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church. It also places in doubt the future of the Lambeth Conference. When its resolutions are no longer respected by members of the conference what purpose does it have?

The Communion now faces a crisis over what holds us together and indeed whether we can remain together if we hold not merely diverse but contradictory views of the Scripture and what it teaches.

In these difficult days, we wish to make it clear that we support those dioceses and parishes who remain committed to the wider Anglican Communion and its teaching. We stand in unity with other bishops around the world in promising our fullest moral and pastoral support for them.

We call upon all in the Communion at this time of distress to prayer.

 

       
 

Statement from Archbishop Akinola on the Election of Gene Robinson

The confirmation of Gene Robinson's election by the House of Bishops (ECUSA), as the first actively gay bishop has brought much sadness and disappointment to us in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). We are astonished that such a high level convention of ECUSA should conspire to turn their back on the clear teaching of the Bible on the matter of human sexuality. Even more shocking is the violation of their own constitution in which they claim to be in fellowship with churches "upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer." Yet at the time of testing, this has proved to be, for the present generation, no more than mere rhetoric. They have chosen the path of deviation from the "historic faith" once delivered to the saints.

Our position on this matter is already well known. We have taken this position prayerfully, being aware of the pain this will bring to all who understand the price some have had to pay to preserve the faith of our fathers. But more than our human pain is the anguish this must bring to the heart of the Lord of the Church and the setback to our witness as a Church before the watching world.

We applaud the admirable integrity and loyalty of those gallant 45 Bishops of ECUSA who have refused to succumb to the pressure for compromise. In the language of the Bible, they have refused to bow their knees to Baal. We assure them, and all the faithful within ECUSA, of our unflinching solidarity and fullest cooperation. We shall continue to be in
full communion with them and we will do all that is necessary to actualise this bond in practical terms.

As for ECUSA, the present development compels us to begin to think of the nature of our future relationship, which would be determined after the ongoing consultation with other Provinces and Primates.

Nevertheless, as things stand, a clear choice has been made for a Church that exists primarily in allegiance to the unbiblical departures and waywardness of our generation; a Church that enthrones the will of men over and above the authority of God and His revealed and written Word. Such a Church is bound to become a shrine for the worship of men rather than God. We cannot go on limping between two opinions.

May the Lord, who has promised to build His Church so that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, bless His Church in this dark hour.

 

       
 

Archbishop of Canterbury Statement on Giving of Consent to Gene Robinson

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that difficult days lie ahead for the Anglican Church after the decision of the Episcopal Church of the United States of American to confirm the election of Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.

"The General Convention's decision to approve the appointment of Gene Robinson will inevitably have a significant impact on the Anglican Communion throughout the world and it is too early to say what the result of that will be.

"It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response. I have said before that we need as a church to be very careful about making decisions for our own part of the world which constrain the church elsewhere.

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

 

       
  In addition there was this letter, signed by clergy from around the world:        
 
Statement from Anglican Mainstream

We greatly regret today's vote by ECUSA's General Convention to confirm the appointment of a bishop who is a practicing homosexual. Sadly this decision ignores the mind of the Anglican Communion as set out by the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in its Resolution 1.10 and the Primates' Meeting in Brazil in May 2003. The Convention's vote is contrary to the clear teaching of Holy Scripture and the Anglican formularies about marriage. If the consecration of Canon Robinson proceeds, the Convention will be taking ECUSA outside the scriptural and currently agreed boundaries of the Anglican Communion. This will cause great distress not only in North America but also across the Anglican family worldwide who have no wish to see ECUSA taken outside the Communion by errant leadership.

We expect that Primates of the Communion will be meeting soon to consider what action to take. Dioceses and parishes in the United States who wish to remain loyal to the Anglican Communion will be also considering their position in the coming weeks. We offer them our support and prayers and call upon the whole Church to pray earnestly that God will have mercy on His church.

The Most Rev Yong Ping Chung, Primate of South East Asia
Rt Rev Greg Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone of Latin America
The Most Rev. Benjamin M. Nzimbi - Archbishop of Kenya
The Rt. Rev. William Waqo Boru - Provincial Secretary
The Rt. Rev. Stephen Mwangi Njihia - Bishop of Nakuru/Dean of the Province
The Rt. Rev. Moses Njue - Bishop of Embu Diocese
The Rt. Rev. Eliud O. Okiring - Bishop of Katakwa
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Otieno Wasonga - Bishop of Maseno West
The Rt. Rev. Stephen Kewasis Nyorsok - Kitale Diocese
The Rt. Rev. Josiah Were - Bishop of Nambale Dioese
The Rt. Rev. Alfred Chipman - Bishop of Mt. Kenya West Diocese
The Rt. Rev. Horace Etemesi - Butere Diocese
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Samson Mwaluda - Diocese of Taita Taveta
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Julius G. Gachuche - Diocese of Mt. K./ Central
The Rt. Rev. Julius R.K. Kalu - Diocese of Mombasa
The Rt. Rev. Francis Mwayi Abiero - Diocese of Maseno South
The Rt. Rev. Joseph M. Kanuku - Diocese of Machakos
The Rt. Rev. Thomas Kogo - Diocese of Eldoret
The Rt. Rev. Simon M. Oketch - Diocese of Maseno North
The Rt. Rev. Peter Njenga Karioki - Diocese of Mt. Kenya South
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala - Diocese of Bungoma
The Rt. Rev. Jeremiah Taama - Diocese of Kajiado
The Rt. Rev. Gideon G. Ireri - Diocese of Mbeere
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Munene Ngoru - Diocese of Kirinyaga
The Rt. Rev. Charles Gaikia Gaita - Diocese of Nyahururu
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Gideon Githiga - Diocese of Thika
The Rt. Rev. Johannes Otieno Angela - Diocese of Bondo
The Rt. Rev. Beneah J. Salala Okumu - Diocese of Mumias
The Rt. Rev. James Kenneth Ochiel - Diocese of S/Nyanza
The Rt. Rev. Peter Njagi Njoka - Diocese of Nairobi
The Rt. Rev. Josphat Vundi Mule - Diocese of Kitu
The Rt. Rev. Charles Ndiga Mwendwa - Diocese of Meru
The Rt. Rev. Allan Waithaka - Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Mt. Kenya Central
Rt Rev Gideon Githiga, on behalf of the Diocese of Thika, Kenya
Rt Rev Graham Cray, Bishop of Maidstone, England
Rt Rev Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney, Australia
Rt Rev Glenn Davies, Bishop of North Sydney, Australia
Rt Rev David Evans, former Bishop of Peru
Dr Philip Giddings, Greyfriars Church, Reading and Archbishops' Council
Canon DR Chris Sugden, Licensed Priest in the Diocese of Oxford
Professor Christopher Seitz, University of Aberdeen
Canon George Kovoor, General Secretary of EFAC
The Venerable George Austin, former Archdeacon of York
Rev David Gibb, Vicar of St Andrew's Leyland, Diocese of Blackburn
Canon DR Vinay Samuel, Licensed Priest in the Diocese of Oxford
Mr Brian Ellis, Nottingham
Rev John Richardson, Diocese of Chelmsford
Canon DR Zech Schariah, Switzerland, Diocese of Europe
Rev Adrian Youings, Diocese of Guildford
Rev Paul Roberts, Vicar, Diocese of Oxford.
Rev Michael Stear, Weymouth
Rev Derek Chedzey, Diocese of Exeter
Rev Charles May, Diocese of Peterborough
Rev Adrian Hallett, Diocese of Exeter
Tim Greenslade, Diocese of Exeter
Rev DR Paul Swarup, Diocese of Delhi, India
Ian Hobbs, United Kingdom
Rev Estevao Menezes, Diocese of Recife, Brazil
Rev Vaughan Roberts, Diocese of Oxford
Mr GW Babbins
Rev Lee Gatiss, Diocese of Peterborough
Philip V Hackett Surrey, UK
Rev Patrick Coghlan, Diocese of Sheffield
Rev John Shepherd
Rev DR Brian Kelly, Diocese of Canterbury
DR Glynn Harrison, Diocese of Bristol
Paul McHenry, Great Yarmouth
Justin Mote, Diocese of Chester
Ellen Grigsby
Rev John Underwood, Diocese of Oxford
Rev DR W Armistead Boardman, Colorado, USA
Mr Michael Hall, Licensed lay minister, Diocese of Oxford
Dickson Chilongani
Donald and Mary Gander
Rev Piers Bickersteth, Diocese of Oxford
Chris Mulherin, Argentina
The Venerable Paul Gardner, Archdeacon of Exeter
David Boyd, Australia
Rev DR Chris Wright, Diocese of London
Prebendary Richard Bewes, All Souls Church, Langham Place, London
Rev Jason Clarke, Diocese of Sheffield
Rev Tim Phenna, Diocese of Sheffield
Rev Nick Crawley, Diocese of Sheffield
Rev David Jardine, Diocese of Sheffield