Archbishop of Canterbury tells Bishops gay clergy must be made welcome
The Archbishop of Canterbury struck a conciliatory tone over the issue of gay clergy at the start of the Lambeth Conference yesterday.
At Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Rowan Williams told 650 bishops their orders should take in ’everyone and anyone regardless of sexual orientation’.
The two-week Lambeth Conference, held only every 10 years, is attended by bishops from Anglican churches around the world.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams parades with other Bishops as they make their way to Canterbury Cathedral
This year 230 evangelicals have boycotted it over the appointment in the United States of an openly homosexual bishop.
Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire has been barred from the conference but has turned up in England where he has preached in a London church and made several appearances urging Anglicans to accept gay rights.
When the bishops moved on to Kent University for their first session of talks yesterday Dr Williams told them to listen to the views of those with whom they disagreed.
He said: ’If you have not had the chance to hear directly of the experience of gay and lesbian people in the Communion, the opportunity is there.
’If you do not grasp why many traditionalist believers in various provinces feel harassed and marginalised, go and listen.’
He added: ’We all know we stand in the middle of one of the most severe challenges to have faced the Anglican family in its history. But at the same time, we shouldn’t assume this is the worst of times.’