Ruth Gledhill reports in As Lambeth beckons, Anglican rebels don’t know if they are coming or going that:
A Nigerian bishop has broken ranks to fly to Britain to attend next week’s Lambeth conference. More than a dozen other Nigerian bishops have telephoned the organisers privately to say that they wish they could come but dare not disobey their archbishop, who has ordered all his 100 bishops to stay away in protest at the liberalisation of the Western Church.
The Right Rev Cyril Okorocha, the Bishop of Owerri, will defy Dr Peter Akinola, the Nigerian primate, when he arrives at his host parish in Oxshott, Surrey, this weekend. He will be the only Nigerian bishop at the Lambeth conference when it opens on Wednesday.
A source close to the bishop, who used to be on the staff at Lambeth Palace, where he looked after mission, said that he was coming because he believed strongly in the unity of the Anglican Communion.
Martin Beckford writes in the Telegraph: Anglican Communion: More than one in four bishops to boycott Lambeth Conference, and says this about English bishops:
As The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last month, the Bishops of Rochester, Lewes and Willesden are boycotting Lambeth because pro-gay bishops will be there.
But following the controversial decision of the Church of England’s ruling body this week to ordain women as bishops without compromise measures, several Anglo-Catholic bishops may also stay away.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, who is likely to become the first English bishop to convert to the Roman Catholic church over female bishops, has said he is unlikely to attend while the Bishop of Richborough is still considering whether he can go.
The Bishop of Europe, the Rt Rev Geoffrey Rowell, said he would attend but could not take part in a Eucharist service held by the female head of the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori.
He added that he was “astonished” that so little information about events at Lambeth had been given out so far.
“We know the themes for each day and that we shall be in study groups of eight, but not much else.”
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, added: “I too am very surprised that we have had little more than a sketchy outline. I’ve never been to a conference before where we have had such little information.”
The Times also has a series of comments from individual bishops printed under the headline In search of the wisdom between the extremes.