American Anglican church consents to consecration of gay bishop

 The House of Bishops at the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) voted yesterday to consent to Canon Gene Robinson's election as Bishop-coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire. Sixty two out of the 107 bishops with jurisdiction gave consent, with two abstentions. Canon Robinson's consecration will take place on 2 November. After the announcement of the vote, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, with 18 other bishops of ECUSA, told the House of Bishops: "The bishops that stand before you do so with sorrow. This body has denied the plain teaching of scripture and the moral consensus of the church throughout the ages. With grief too deep for words, the bishops that stand before you reject this action. As faithful members of the Episcopal Church we call upon the Primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in the pastoral emergency that has come before us. May God have mercy upon his church." At a press conference the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, the Most Revd Frank Griswold, said: "The assent to this consecration by bishops and deputies of the Episcopal Church will be interpreted in many ways over these next days, both because those within our household of faith are not of a common mind on issues of sexuality, and because these issues call forth a great deal of emotion. For some this is a moment of great joy and represents an affirmation of the place of gay and lesbian persons in this church. For others, the decision signals a crisis and reflects a departure from biblical teachings and traditional church practice." He continued: "This decision does not, in my view, resolve the issues about homosexuality in the life of the church. What it does do is place squarely before us the question of how a community can live in the tension of disagreement. So, it is now our challenge to take up the difficult and holy work of living with a difference." Canon Robinson said: "this day is a good day because Jesus is Lord. Yesterday was a terrible day but I got through it because Jesus is Lord". He described how he believes in the process that the Episcopal Church has set up and is proud to be in a church that works to be a safe place for all God's children. "The only thing that causes difficulty for me is that not everyone agrees with this decision," he said. As a communion we want to reach out to the dioceses and other denominations for whom this is bad." The Archbishop of Canterbury said: "It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response. I have said before that we need as a church to be careful about making decisions for our own part of the world which constrain the church elsewhere. "It will be vital to ensure that the concerns and need of those across the Communion who are gravely concerned at this development can be heard understood and taken into account." Canon Robinson, 56, has served as canon to the ordinary in New Hampshire since 1988 where he coordinates diocesan staff and ministry of the current bishop, the Rt Revd Douglas E Thuener. Since 1983, he has served as executive secretary of the Episcopal Province of New England, and since 2001 on the Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary in New York. A 1969 graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, Canon Robinson has a BA in American Studies/History. In 1973, he completed the MDiv at General Theological Seminary and after ordination served as curate at Christ Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Upon moving to New Hampshire in 1975, he co-owned and directed an accredited girls' summer camp and horse farm. As founding director of Sign of the Dove Retreat Centre in Temple, New Hampshire, he facilitated spiritual direction and designed programs for a variety of groups. He also managed the diocesan "Living into Our Baptism" program of spiritual growth and development. Canon Robinson said he took the difficult decision to leave his wife because he felt that God wanted him to acknowledge his sexuality. When asked, "What risks have you taken for the Gospel?" he replied: "Risking the loss of my children and the exercise of my ordained ministry in the Church were the biggest risks I've ever taken, but it left me with two unshakable things: my integrity and my God." The Anglican Communon News Service says: "Canon Robinson enjoys entertaining and cooking, gardening, music and running. The father of two grown daughters, Jamee and Ella, he lives with his partner Mark Andrew who is employed by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services." Source: ACN

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