Archbishop meets cleric who set off gay clergy row

Bishop Gene Robinson, who lives with his male partner, was consecrated two years ago as Bishop of New Hampshire in the United States. Many conservative clergy believe that the Bible explicitly condemns homosexuality and African church leaders say it is a strong cultural taboo in many of their areas.

The Lambeth Commission, established by the Dr Williams after Bishop Robinson's appointment, had urged conservatives and liberals to use their faith to find agreement over the issue. If they failed, the commission warned, the communion would fracture into a collection of disparate churches.

But leaders of the Anglican Communion in the United States have refused to apologise for the consecration or for adopting a unilateral position over gay clergy. Bishop Robinson has come under increasing pressure to resign but has steadfastly refused.

Lambeth Palace said the Dr Williams had met Bishop Robinson privately in London and discussed "the range of problems that have arisen". A spokesman described the encounter as "friendly but candid ... and came as part of the Archbishop's commitment to listening to the voices of all concerned in the challenges facing the Anglican Communion."

Last night Bishop Robinson was a guest speaker at the Oxford Union, and over the weekend he will attend events in London and Stockport to mark the 10th anniversary of Changing Attitude, the gay Christian pressure group.

The Rev Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, said Bishop Robinson's visit would encourage those who longed for the Church of England to unreservedly welcome lesbian and gay people. He said: "It is sad that he is unable to preside or preach at our anniversary service because of church rules which prohibit a partnered gay bishop from participating fully in an act of Christian worship in England.

"We are glad he is coming because it presents into our midst a partnered gay bishop who is legally and properly ordained by his church and makes visible and present what is already a reality. Here we have partnered gay bishops in England but they remain hidden to the wider church."

But other sections of the church were less enthusiastic about Bishop Robinson's visit. The Rev George Curry, chairman of the Church Society, an evangelical grouping within the Church of England, said Bishop Robinson was not worthy of the office he holds. "He has adopted and maintains a lifestyle that is totally contrary to the will of God as declared in the written word of God," he said.

"The real question is what are we doing about the people within the Church of England and within Anglicanism who are adopting views with regards to matters sexual which are contrary to the plain teaching of the word of God.

"We have a collective failure of leadership unfortunately - there may be individuals who are the exception to the rule - among the bishops of the Church of England to maintain and teach orthodoxy in as clear and as gracious a manner as they should do."

Bishop Robinson has been with his partner, Mark Andrew, for 15 years. He met him after his marriage failed. He has two grown-up daughters and two grandchildren.

Next month, gay and lesbian couples in Britain, including priests, will be able to register their civil partnerships.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines