Canon Gene Robinson addresses
“Halfway to Lambeth”
by satellite

by Matthew Davies

Manchester, England Oct 25, 2003 [Anglican Communion News Service] Speaking
via a live satellite link from New Hampshire today, the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson,
who will be consecrated as the Anglican Communion's first openly gay bishop November
2, told the "Halfway to Lambeth" conference that "the issue of
homosexuality in the Church should not be elevated above all that holds
us together".

The conference, which is being held in Manchester this weekend, has been
organised by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) to provide an
opportunity for bishops and others from the Anglican Communion to listen
to the experience of homosexual people.

More than 250 people, including international guests and keynote
speakers, filled a lecture hall at Manchester University to hear the
45-minute live broadcast.

Robinson told the conference about how Jesus had been a model of
strength and stability for him throughout the past few months. "I have
been reflecting a lot about Jesus at His trial," he said. "It has given
me a profound respect for our Saviour who was silent at His trial and
just absorbed the evil that was there."

He also spoke about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and how difficult
it can be sometimes to move forward in God's way. "It was the religious
establishment that were often enraged by what Jesus said and did. It is
the marginalised who rejoiced. In some ways the world hasn't changed."
he said. "This loving God of ours offers us a promised land, just as He
did to the Hebrews."

After Robinson's opening speech, an opportunity was allocated for
questions. Elaine Graham, professor of social and pastoral theology at
the University of Manchester, asked Robinson how important the Anglican
tradition has been to him. "We continue to disagree about all sorts of
things but can still come together around the altar rail," he said. "Our
tradition is not a narrow one but a very broad, encompassing one."

Asked what he thought about Archbishop Rowan Williams' public
disapproval to his consecration, he said, "I am doing my best to follow
God's call to me, as I know Rowan Williams is and as I know the Primates
are, but that does not mean we need to separate. We have far more that
keeps us together than separates us."

Robinson said that the media had been an astounding presence in his life
since his appointment and that the publicity his election had generated
had helped him to attract people back into the Anglican Church.

Earlier in the day Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New
Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada delivered a speech on
"Reclaiming Orthodoxy." (The full text can be found HERE)

Other keynote speakers included: the Very Rev. Rowan Smith, dean of Cape
Town Cathedral in South Africa; the Rev. Mario Ribas, rector of All
Saint's Church in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Christopher Senteza, vice
president of Integrity, Uganda.

10/25/03 -j