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LAMBETH: Episcopal Bishops Defend Robinson, Attack GAFCON

LAMBETH: Episcopal Bishops Defend Robinson, Attack GAFCON

By Hans Zeiger in Canterbury
www.virtueonline.org
July 30, 2008

CANTERBURY-Two Episcopal bishops today defended the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, while attacking last month's Global Anglican Future Conference as a conspiracy against Anglicanism. In an afternoon press conference in front of Darwin College at the University of Kent, Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida and Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas asked for "a little room, a little grace" from the Anglican Communion.

Regarding GAFCON, Wolfe alleged that "a small, but well-organized group of people have tried to overturn the ecclesiology of our church." He added that "it will always be hard to get clarity when we're not meeting around the same table. I think we need to keep the meeting together."

Yet over the objections of GAFCON and many orthodox bishops at Lambeth, Wolfe also stated his strong commitment to Bishop Gene Robinson. "I'm sorry he's not a part of this conference, because he would make an excellent contribution."

"The people of New Hampshire had a man they loved, and not in any bright-light sort of way," said Wolfe. "When it came time to call for a bishop, they believed they had called for the best person in the job....I tend to trust the people in our church. A large majority of them are moving in a way that twenty years ago we would not have imagined. These are exciting times, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Wolfe said that the Episcopalians of New Hampshire believed the Holy Spirit was moving in their deliberations when they called Bishop Robinson. "Nobody squares up the Holy Spirit," he said. "It goes where it will and acts how it will."

Frade suggested that it is possible to hold together the Anglican Communion without choosing one side or the other in the debate over sexuality. Holding up a twenty pound note and turning it over, he said that "both sides are true."

Wolfe also called on Anglicans to reconcile the different demands of different positions within the church. "Historically, people have interpreted Scripture based on circumstance," he said. "We're always in a dance and there's always tension in a dance, and resolution too."

"Anytime you're talking about a global Christianity, you have to give room to different parts to operate. A little room, a little grace, would be a helpful thing," said Wolfe.

Asked to remark about the Archbishop of Canterbury's address on Tuesday, Wolfe said that the Archbishop "reminded us of his great spiritual depth and his intellect."

Building on the Archbishop's eloquent call to compromise as well as Wednesday's conference theme of "The Bishop and the Bible in Mission," VirtueOnline asked the Episcopal bishops whether there may be occasions of any kind where the Bible precludes compromise. "You don't compromise everything," Wolfe replied, "but you also find out what the truth is in a variety of situations." Frade said that he personally would not compromise when it comes to the two great commandments-to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Other than that, said Frade, "I compromise every day."

Yet over the objections of GAFCON and many orthodox bishops at Lambeth, Wolfe also stated his strong commitment to Bishop Gene Robinson. "I'm sorry he's not a part of this conference, because he would make an excellent contribution."

"The people of New Hampshire had a man they loved, and not in any bright-light sort of way," said Wolfe. "When it came time to call for a bishop, they believed they had called for the best person in the job....I tend to trust the people in our church. A large majority of them are moving in a way that twenty years ago we would not have imagined. These are exciting times, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Wolfe said that the Episcopalians of New Hampshire believed the Holy Spirit was moving in their deliberations when they called Bishop Robinson. "Nobody squares up the Holy Spirit," he said. "It goes where it will and acts how it will."

Frade suggested that it is possible to hold together the Anglican Communion without choosing one side or the other in the debate over sexuality. Holding up a twenty pound note and turning it over, he said that "both sides are true."

Wolfe also called on Anglicans to reconcile the different demands of different positions within the church. "Historically, people have interpreted Scripture based on circumstance," he said. "We're always in a dance and there's always tension in a dance, and resolution too."

"Anytime you're talking about a global Christianity, you have to give room to different parts to operate. A little room, a little grace, would be a helpful thing," said Wolfe.

Asked to remark about the Archbishop of Canterbury's address on Tuesday, Wolfe said that the Archbishop "reminded us of his great spiritual depth and his intellect."

Building on the Archbishop's eloquent call to compromise as well as Wednesday's conference theme of "The Bishop and the Bible in Mission," VirtueOnline asked the Episcopal bishops whether there may be occasions of any kind where the Bible precludes compromise. "You don't compromise everything," Wolfe replied, "but you also find out what the truth is in a variety of situations." Frade said that he personally would not compromise when it comes to the two great commandments-to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Other than that, said Frade, "I compromise every day."

END

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