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Gay Bishop, Breakaway Bishop Not Invited to Anglican Meeting

May 21, 2007 09:13 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) - Two bishops at the heart of the U.S. Episcopal Church's divisions over sexuality and scripture will not be invited to next year's global gathering of Anglican prelates, the archbishop of Canterbury's office said Tuesday.

Bishops V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and Martyn Minns of the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans in North America were not among more than 850 bishops invited, said Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary-general of the Anglican Communion.

Robinson was the first Anglican bishop to be openly living in a same-sex relationship, and his election in 2003 opened a huge rift between the liberal and conservative wings of the church.

Minns was consecrated bishop on May 5 in Woodbridge, Va., by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, the most outspoken of the numerous Anglican critics of Robinson's elevation.

Robinson may be invited to attend the Lambeth Conference as a guest, but Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is not contemplating inviting Minns, Kearon said.

"The question of Gene Robinson ... I think has exercised the archbishop of Canterbury's mind for quite some time," he said, and there was no question that Robinson was duly elected and consecrated a bishop in accordance with the rules of the Episcopal Church.

"However, for the archbishop to simply give full recognition at this conference would be to ignore the very substantial and very widespread objections in many parts of the communion to his consecration and to his ministry," Kearon said.

The conference, generally held every 10 years, will meet at the University of Kent in England from July 16-Aug. 4, 2008.

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