The reverberations of the decision to discriminate against same sex spouses by not allowing them to attend next year’s Lambeth Conference could threaten whether or not the conference can go ahead.
Readers will know that my view is that the Episcopal Church should not have been invited at all because it has broken the fabric of the communion by diverging on scripture, ethics and canonical marriage from the rest of the Communion. It has effectively put itself outside the communion and, in line with the Windsor Report, should play no part in the councils of the Communion.
At the 2008 conference, Rowan Williams departed from the previous practice of inviting all bishops of each province and instead discriminated against one particular [noncelibate] gay bishop by not inviting him. This time round, Justin Welby invited the gay and lesbian bishops but not their spouses. This is an even more invidious example of discrimination. And it does not work. There will still be some provinces of the Anglican Communion that do not attend.And that is because there is a theological problem- not a personal problem with one or two bishops and their partners.
And now questions are being asked in Parliament about this discrimination. The University of Kent is coming under fire from its students for hosting the Lambeth Conference when homosexual couples are subjected to such individual acts of discrimination.
Don’t expect this row to die away. I would be surprised if the Lambeth Conference could go ahead using that venue, unless decisive steps are taken to reverse recent decisions.
–This column appears in the Church of England Newspaper, march 29, 2019, edition, page 11, subscriptions are encouraged