"I will be seeking to learn how I can best be in solidarity with Bishop Robinson, through prayerful action," says the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Episcopal bishop of California. "The tactic of isolation and exile being employed against Bishop Robinson is retrogressive behavior that moves us towards a past from which Christ is always seeking to redeem us. I ask the people of the Diocese of California to pray with me about our common life with all of God's people and the earth."
The Archbishop of Canterbury convenes the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of all of the bishops of the Anglican Communion, once every ten years. While acknowledging that Bishop Robinson is a duly-elected and consecrated bishop in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Williams decided not to invite him because of opposition expressed by conservatives such as Peter Akinola, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Akinola supports repressive legislation in Nigeria that would criminalize homosexuality and suppress advocacy for the human rights of gay and lesbian people.
On Sunday, June 24, Bishop Andrus will welcome openly gay Nigerian human rights activist Davis Mac-Illya to San Francisco, and they will march together with the church's contingent in the Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade. "At the end of the Easter season," remarks Andrus, "the Sunday reading gives us a passage from what is called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus: `That they may be one, as I and the Father are one.' We must always be seeking this oneness that honors both our interconnectedness, our individuality, and that includes all."
"This is a defining moment for The Episcopal Church," says the Rev. John Kirkley, president of the California dioceses' gay and lesbian ministry. "Our bishops must refuse to capitulate to those for whom the exclusion of gay and lesbian people is the criteria for membership in the Anglican Communion. My hope is that they will find a creative way to respond to Archbishop Williams that actually honors our Church's commitment to listen to the voices of lesbian and gay people around the world, including those of Bishop Robinson and Davis Mac-Illya.
Archbishop Rowan Williams is scheduled to meet with the bishops of The Episcopal Church in New Orleans in September. "It will be important for our bishops to press Williams to reconsider at that meeting," Kirkley commented, "and for lay leaders, including gay and lesbian members of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, to speak with the Archbishop there."
Oasis is the gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender ministry of the Bay Area Episcopal church, the Diocese of California. A list of bay area Episcopal churches that welcome Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people is @ http://www.oasiscalifornia.org.