The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has not invited two American Episcopalian bishops — Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns — to a major conference next year, reported Reuters.
"I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion," Archbishop Williams wrote in his invitation to more than 800 Anglican bishops, asking them to attend the Lambeth Conference in July and August 2008. The invitations went out on Tuesday.
Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire is the first openly homosexual bishop. Minns is acting as the head of a new Nigerian-based church branch in the U.S., designed as a refuge for orthodox believers. The Anglican Communion does not recognize his position.
"I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognizes and honors the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this," Archbishop Williams wrote.
It is possible that others will either not be invited or will have their invitations withdrawn before the conference takes place if anything "untoward or unacceptable" occurs between now and then, an Anglican spokesman said.
Next year's Lambeth Conference promises to involve intense discussion on ideological and doctrinal issues that have caused serious rifts within the communion in recent years, including the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of homosexual bishops.