Gay Bishop Dismisses Call to Resign, Says Issue Will Not Go Away

The openly gay bishop at the center of much of the divisions in the Anglican Communion rejected a conservative bishop's call for him to resign in order to restore unity.

"Those calling for my resignation seem to be under the impression that if Gene Robinson went away, that all would go back to being 'like it was,' whatever that was! Does ANYONE think that if I resigned, this issue would go away?!" New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson said Wednesday in his blog.

"We are not going away, as much as some would like us to," Robinson added, referring to gays and lesbians.

On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, called for Robinson's resignation "for the sake of the Church," saying his behavior violated "the norms of the Anglican Communion."

The New Hampshire bishop has lived openly with another man for 20 years and had a civil ceremony in June 2008. The Anglican Communion, meanwhile, rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.

"Three hundred bishops have stayed away from this conference because of Gene Robinson. Shouldn't Gene Robinson resign to allow the 300 bishops to come back to the house?" the Sudanese archbishop said as he also called for repentance from the American bishops who supported Robinson's consecration in 2003.

Robinson received news of the Sudanese bishop's call just before making an address at the University of Kent's Law School's Centre for the Study of the Law, Gender and Sexuality. He was there as Anglican bishops from around the world were meeting for the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference at the university. Robinson was not invited to attend Lambeth but is in Canterbury on the outskirts of the event.

Although he said in his latest blog that he has decided not to make an official response to the Sudanese archbishop's remark, he reflected on the remark in two long paragraphs.

"Everyone seems to forget that I am not here representing myself, but rather all the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire, with whom it is my privilege to minister in Christ's name," Robinson wrote. "They have called me to minister with them as their Bishop, and suggestions that I resign ignore the vows that I have taken to serve my flock in New Hampshire."

He added that his denied representation at the Lambeth meeting also deprives his entire diocese of "a seat at the table."

The Anglican spiritual head, Dr. Rowan Williams, had withheld invitations from "bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion" when they were sent out last year.

Some U.S. Episcopal bishops are sponsoring "Fringe" events for Anglican bishops and their spouses of the global Communion to meet Robinson during Lambeth. Attendees will hear how he was consecrated and testimonies from bishops who voted for and against his consecration.

Robinson will share his own testimony but he insists the event will not be a "sell job."

"My goal is to talk about my own life and journey in Christ in such a way that those who are listening will perceive that the God I know in my own life is the same God they know in THEIR lives," he said. "Then we can wrestle with the faithful differences we have in interpreting that God's will for us and for God's church."

More than 200 bishops are boycotting the Lambeth Conference mainly in protest of the invitation of bishops who supported Robinson's consecration and the Communion's failure to discipline those who participated in the 2003 event. Conservative bishops contend the U.S. church body along with other is departing from orthodox Christianity on issues of human sexuality, the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The Sudanese archbishop affirmed Tuesday, "We reject homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within the Episcopal Church of Sudan. We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada in consecrating a practicing homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships."

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