The Archbishop of Canterbury did not include American Episcopal Biship V. Gene Robinson among invitees to a key Anglican conference:
Archbishop Rowan Williams has sent invitations to more than 800 Anglican bishops asking them to attend the Lambeth Conference in July and August 2008, but did not include V. Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns.
Robinson's consecration as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, in which he became the Anglican Church's first openly gay bishop, led to deep divisions among Anglicans.
Robinson said he was deeply disappointed by Williams's decision. "How does it make sense to exclude gay and lesbian people from the discussion?" he asked in a statement. "Isn't it time that the bishops of the church stop talking about us and start talking with us?"
Minns, a deeply conservative Episcopalian, was installed last year as the head of a new Nigerian-based church branch in the United States designed as a refuge for orthodox believers. The Anglican Communion does not recognize his position.
"This crisis in the Anglican Communion is not about a few individual bishops, but about a worldwide communion that is torn at its deepest level," Minns said.
Williams said in his statement: "I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions, or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the communion."
It may not seem like much, but it's a slap in the face to the American Episcopalian's elevation of Robinson. It's also another step that will lead to a formal break in that fellowship.