About 670 Anglican bishops attended the July 16-Aug. 3 Lambeth Conference, but 230 others reportedly boycotted the gathering of leaders from the world’s third largest Christian body. The boycott was attributed to, among other things, the presence of U.S. leaders who approved the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who is in a committed same-sex relationship.
Ecumenical News International reported that Cyril Okorocha, Anglican bishop of Owerri, Nigeria, ignored the head of his church’s ban on bishops attending because he was “committed to the unity of the Anglican Communion.” But when his wife received threats, Okorocha returned home.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told the media Aug. 3 that if North American churches don’t accept a temporary ban on gay bishops and same-sex unions, “as a communion we are going to continue to be in grave peril.” He also said conservative archbishops from churches in the global South must stop crossing geographic boundaries to adopt like-minded parishes in the U.S. and Canada.
Williams cited “wide support” for measures to resolve the 77-million strong group’s dispute over homosexuality. “We may not have put an end to all our problems but the pieces are on the board,” he said in his final remarks to the bishops.
Those bishops present were united as they formed a purple-clad line during a July 24 march against poverty. At the end of the march, Williams called upon governments to keep their commitments to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals of halving world poverty by 2015.
John Lupaa, bishop of the Rift Valley in Tanzania, said, “There are many other things than homosexuality, which is only the concern of a minority, that we need to focus on, such as HIV/AIDS and hunger.” Lupaa said his province struggles with hunger and sometimes lagging humanitarian aid.
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