[Episcopal News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury's decision to withhold a small number of invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops drew reaction as soon as the announcement was made public May 22.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent a short e-mail message to the House of Bishops urging "a calm approach to today's announcement regarding 2008 Lambeth Conference invitations, a subject on which I plan to make no formal statement at this time. It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months, and the House of Bishops' September meeting offers us a forum for further discussion."
House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson also issued a short statement saying that "the Episcopal Church elects bishops and consents to the election of bishops in a democratic and participatory manner. The process is carried out within our Constitution and Canons, both at the General Convention and in our dioceses. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is a duly elected and consecrated bishop of this Church. Not inviting him to the Lambeth Conference causes serious concern to The Episcopal Church."
Meanwhile, according to a posting on the website Anglican Mainstream, Archbishop Peter Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, said that withholding an invitation to Minns "will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria."
The Rev. Susan Russell, the president of IntegrityUSA, said that her organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Episcopalians and their supporters, is "outraged and appalled" at Williams' decision not to invite Robinson. She suggested that the Episcopal Church's bishops ought "to think long and hard about whether they are willing to participate in the continued scapegoating of the gay and lesbian faithful as the price for going to the Lambeth Conference."
"This is not only a snub of Bishop Gene Robinson but an affront to the entire U.S. Episcopal Church," Russell said in part. "The Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed himself to be blackmailed by forces promoting bigotry and exclusion in the Anglican Communion. This action shows a disgraceful lack of leadership on Williams' part."
The complete IntegrityUSA statement is available here.