Thinking Anglicans

Earlier, another bishop had resigned…

The Bishop of New Hampshire announced last Saturday that he intended to retire in January 2013. The New York Times has a detailed report by Laurie Goodstein at First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop to Retire. This includes the information that:

The church in New Hampshire suffered less fallout under Bishop Robinson than the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion. Only one New Hampshire congregation departed during his tenure, a congregation long unhappy with the direction of the Episcopal Church, according to diocesan leaders.

The number of active members in New Hampshire fell 3 percent, from 15,259 in 2003 to 14,787 in 2009. In that period, the Episcopal Church, like most mainline Protestant denominations, lost about 10 percent of its members. (It had about two million in 2008, the last year for which statistics are available.)

And the same report summarises the international consequences of his election thus:

The election of Bishop Robinson in a church in Concord, N. H., in 2003 was the shot heard round the Christian world. It cracked open a longstanding divide between theological liberals and conservatives in both the Episcopal Church and its parent body, the Anglican Communion — those churches affiliated with the Church of England in more than 160 countries.

Since 2003, the Communion’s leaders have labored to save it from outright schism, not just over homosexuality, but also over female bishops and priests.

The current strategy, pushed by the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is for each regional province to sign a “covenant” of common beliefs.

The covenant has been slowly making its way through laborious writing and approval processes, which could take years.

Late last month, an international coalition of liberal Anglicans started a campaign to reject the covenant, saying, “The covenant seeks to narrow the range of acceptable belief within Anglicanism.”

The group, Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity, said, “Rather than bringing peace to the Communion, we predict that the covenant text itself could become the cause of future bickering and that its centralized dispute-resolution mechanisms could beget interminable quarrels and resentments.”

This news got extensive coverage in the Guardian:

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen issued a statement in his capacity as General Secretary of GAFCON/FCA, see Statement on retirement of Gene Robinson.

The agonising dispute in the Anglican Communion is not about Bishop Robinson personally. It is true that his consecration as a Bishop seven years ago was one of the flashpoints for a serious re-alignment of the whole Communion. But many things have happened since then. GAFCON is about the future. It is dedicated to the future of a renewed Anglican Communion centred on the orthodox teaching of the Jerusalem Declaration.

No mention of the Anglican Covenant there.

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Fred Schwartz
Fred Schwartz
10 years ago

Bishop Jerry Lamb has elected to retire this year. See Real Anglicans.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
10 years ago

As surely most people who participate in this site know, but Riazat Butt seems not to, +Gene was NOT “the first non-celibate gay clergyman in the Anglican Communion to become a bishop.”

Rather, he is the first OPENY gay man to become an Anglican bishop.

Those in his diocese and we in TEC have been blessed by his ministry among us. Although he says he will not disappear from the public forum, I hope he and his husband will take a sabbatical time and go off somewhere quiet and refreshing.

Graham Ward
Graham Ward
10 years ago

(cross-posted from Facebook) Enjoy your retirement Bishop Gene. Giles is right; Robinson’s ministry has been prophetic, not just to those marginalised by the church, but to those of us at the heart of it who are saying “enough is enough” and are refusing to put up with misogyny or homophobia in the name of “Christian unity” for any longer. Contrast with the inflammatory comments of the five who announced their conversion to Rome yesterday, and it’s obvious who is more Christlike.

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
10 years ago

Thank God for the strength given to Bishop Gene and his partner and in 2013, maybe now, let the whole Christian Gay Community, ordained and lay stand up together and shout God’s praise. It would certainly deafen the noise from Africa and other places.

Also thank you to Canon Giles for his goodv words in and out of season.

Yes we must all say no to the covenant.

JPM
JPM
10 years ago

Far greater departures from Anglican order and belief happen every day in Jensen’s Sydney than have ever taken place in Robinson’s New Hampshire.

Peter
Peter
10 years ago

In a fair world, Williams would retire and be replaced by someone with the courage of Gene Robinson.
Well, it’s a thought that gives content to one’s prayers.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
10 years ago

People such as Giles Fraser inspire me to be a better human being. I thank God we have our Giles Frasers in the Church. I also salute Gene Robinson, whom I believe is a good and decent man and has been a remarkable bishop in New Hampshire. Perhaps some day both of these men will appear on the Anglican Saints list. I heard some of the video interviews that featured Flying Bishops who are about to leave the Church of England. I found their arguments deplorable, un-Christian and without love. Sadly, the only thing I wish these “flying Bishops” would… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

“The agonising dispute in the Anglican Communion is not about Bishop Robinson personally. It is true that his consecration as a Bishop seven years ago was one of the flashpoints for a serious re-alignment of the whole Communion. But many things have happened since then. GAFCON is about the future. It is dedicated to the future of a renewed Anglican Communion centred on the orthodox teaching of the Jerusalem Declaration.” – Archbishop Peter Jensen – The Sydney Archbishop, who is Secretary to the GAFCON group who call themselves ‘The Global South’, admits here that the ordination of Gene as Bishop… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

He – they both must be shattered.

What a legacy he leaves with us.

Douglas Lewis
Douglas Lewis
10 years ago

The ‘active membership’ may have fallen by only 3%. The ‘Worship Attendance’ as shown on the DFMS site (http://pr.dfms.org/study/exports/DioceseRPT_20101110_032655.pdf) declined steadily from somewhere around 5000 to just over 4000–a decline of 15-20%.

Fr Mark
10 years ago

Douglas Lewis: judging bishops by their diocesan statistics cuts both ways. The dioceses of the impeccably conservative bishops in England (e.g. Winchester and Chester) registered the same relentless falls in attendance as all the others in the most recent C of E statistics. The myth that conservative leadership fills churches needs to be rapped on the head.

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

‘GAFCON is centred on the future…’

BACK to the future, eh !

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

Jesus on stats – ‘Where 2 or 3 …’

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