They are Bishop John W. Lipscomb, who voted against approving the Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire at the 74th Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States in August.
Robinson has lived with a male partner for more than 13 years. Lipscomb
, who moved the diocese's office from Ellenton to Sarasota on Sept. 30, is eager to hear what local Episcopalians have to say at the local convention. He
joins them in wondering what will happen four days later, when Episcopal primates worldwide gather Oct. 15 and 16 for an emergency meeting in London to prevent their association from fracturing over issues related to homosexuality. The international gathering was called by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion.
opposed the consecration of Robinson and the blessing of same-sex unions, he
doesn't fear debate over the issue.What others see as a crisis, Lipscomb
sees as a crucible for conversation.
"The opportunity in this is to have the conversation we've never had in the church, and to help all society engage in that same conversation," Lipscomb
worries that much of the information on homosexuality is distributed under political and cultural pressure, not under scientific review. He
wants a scientific exploration of the medical, psychiatric and social aspects of homosexuality. He
doesn't believe such research has been objectively undertaken.Right now, he
said, the U.S. Episcopal church
has the clout to do that.
The church's mission, he
said, is to constantly reassess humanity's understanding of God's will for the human family. Lipscomb
declined to speculate on what Anglican primates will do when they meet in London.
They can, he
said, refuse to recognize Robinson and try to pressure the U.S. bishops into replacing him.
Regardless of what they do, Lipscomb
intends to focus on the local needs of the Episcopal faithful here in Southwest Florida.