English bishop says he may boycott the Lambeth Conference

By staff writers
October 11, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, faces rebellion in his own episcopal ranks after the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali, indicated that he may boycott next year's Lambeth conference over the gay row and others issues.

The conference, held every ten years, has been a focus of discontent from conservative Anglicans angry over the US Episcopal Church's stance toward lesbian and gay ministry and the blessing of same-sex relationships.

According to Pink News (http://www.pinknews.co.uk/) and the Daily Telegraph, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, an evangelical Christian who was a one-time candidate for Archbishop of Canterbury, has said he would "find it difficult" to attend the conference if senior US clergy to consecrated openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire were there.

Other Anglicans are lobbying Dr Rowan Williams against a decision which would excluded Bishop Robinson from Lambeth. There are reports that he may attend as an adviser instead of a delegate.

"My difficulty at the moment is not with a particular person, such as Gene Robinson, but with those who felt it right to approve and to officiate at his ordination," Bishop Nazir-Ali told The Telegraph.

He continued: "Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we have done wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops."

Dr Nazir-Ali also accused the American Anglican clergy of accommodating to aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism and of not having proper regard for the Bible.

The Lambeth conference has been a source of dispute in the fractious Anglican Communion for months. In July 2007 the 'Global South' group of Anglican church leaders decided that it will boycott.

As many as 120 bishops have said they will not attend unless the American part of the Anglican church repudiates its current accepting attitude towards lesbian and gay clergy and relationships. But observers believe that the number will drop drastically as the conference approaches.

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