Gay bishop speaks of prayer life
The Rev Gene Robinson, bishop-elect of the Diocese of New Hampshire, has said in an interview with The Associated Press that he had been praying for years about becoming a bishop.
Despite pressure from Anglican leaders over the issue, he said he felt strongly that God wanted him to go through with his consecration on November 2.
ìGod and I have been about this for quite a while now and I would be really surprised if God were to want me to stop now,î he said.
Leaders of the global Anglican Communion held an emergency meeting on homosexuality in London last week and said Robinsonís consecration put their international association of churches in jeopardy. Around the world, 77 million people are members of Anglican denominations.
Robinson acknowledged that his consecration would cause a church crisis, but said good could come from it.
ìIf indeed this is the work of God ... then itís a crisis that calls for the Church to be its very best self, and not worry about risking itself for the right thing,î Robinson said.
ìSometimes there are things worth risking your life for. It was Jesus who said if you want to save your life, you have to lose it.î
Robinson said he received a letter from the primates of the West Indies, South America and Nigeria asking him not go through with his consecration.
Robinson said that if Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams asked him to step aside ñ which he has not done ñ Robinson would take that into his ìprayer lifeî. But the words of Dr Williams, the spiritual leader of the worldís Anglicans, would not be enough to dissuade him.
Robinson also said giving up leadership of the New Hampshire diocese would not end the debate over homosexuality. He added that he knew of a ìgood numberî of gay bishops both in the United States and abroad, but he was just the first to talk about it.
ìThere are enormously-gifted Episcopal priests around this Church who are gay and lesbian, some of whom are partnered, who would make wonderful bishops and theyíre going to be nominated and theyíre going to be elected,î Robinson said. ìIf I went away today, does anyone think it would stop all that? I donít think so.î
US conservatives have been moving toward a total break with the Episcopal Church over Robinsonís election. The American Anglican Council, which represents US traditionalists, plans to send a representative to the consecration to make a formal protest.
Robinson said he would be saddened if they left but also felt that they were making homosexuality too central an issue for the denomination.