24 May 2007

Solomons-led Anglicans stay clear of gay bishop

5:49 pm on 24 May 2007

Organisers of a major Anglican Church conference led by a Solomon Islander are not inviting the church's first openly homosexual bishop.

Invitations have gone out to more than 800 bishops for the Lambeth Conference -- a meeting which takes place once every ten years.

The Archbishop of Melanesia, Sir Ellison Pogo, is chairman of the design group which is tasked with drawing up the agenda for the next meeting in July 2008.

In a letter of invitation, the church leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said he reserved the right to withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment has caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the communion.

The consecration of the gay American bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 angered many Anglican Church leaders.

Some have since said the Lambeth conference should be postponed until the question of homosexual bishops is resolved.

Archbishop Sir Ellison has said the conference should focus instead on spiritual reflection, learning, sharing and discerning.