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Tengatenga Opposed Robinson Choice

Tengatenga Williams.jpgBishop James Tengatenga, the incoming head of the Tucker Foundation, opposed the nomination of New Hampshire’s Gene Robinson as bishop of the Episcopalian church in the state. In 2004, the Los Angeles Times’ quoted Tengatenga (at right with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams) as saying that he comes from “a church that feels it has been betrayed by its [American] brothers and sisters” due to the Robinson appointment.

Here are excerpts from the Time’s story:

Bishops End Session With Hope

Episcopal leaders meet as they await word from an international panel on homosexuality issue.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The nation’s Episcopal bishops concluded a five-day meeting here Tuesday, saying they were anxious but hopeful that their church would remain part of the worldwide Anglican Communion despite the Americans’ liberal stands on homosexuality.

The meeting here came just three weeks before an international church panel appointed by the archbishop of Canterbury was scheduled to make public recommendations on the future relationship between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. That panel was formed after the Episcopal Church, which is the American arm of Anglicanism, consecrated an openly gay priest last year as bishop of New Hampshire and allowed local bishops the option of permitting same-sex blessings in their dioceses.

Some conservatives around the world reportedly are pushing for a strong rebuke of the American church, possibly forcing it out of active membership into some kind of observer status or even outright expulsion.

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, said his members must be ready for a strong, even indignant, international response from the panel, called the Lambeth Commission…

Since the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop of New Hampshire last year, 12 to 18 of the 38 Anglican national churches or provinces have downgraded or broken their relations with the American church, according to the conservative American Anglican Council. Last month, three conservative Southern California parishes broke away from the Los Angeles diocese.

Controversy over homosexuality was underscored Tuesday by an African bishop who received part of his training in America.

“There’s a sense in which you are very much part of me and a very serious sense of being part of you,” said the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, Anglican bishop of Southern Malawi in Central Africa who opposed Robinson’s elevation to bishop. “I come from an angry people. I come from a very frustrated church, a church that feels it has been betrayed by its brothers and sisters,” he said, referring to the dispute with the Americans.

The Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, suffragan bishop of New York, said it was unjust, in effect, to force a choice between Tengatenga and Robinson.

“It is a Sophie’s choice, and I refuse to make it. My friendship is there for Gene. And my friendship is there for James,” Roskam said. “By God’s grace, we’ll work it out.” [Emphasis added]

Addendum: The D’s review of Tengatenga’s appointment to the Tucker post is here. The story notes without comment Tengatenga’s stated opposition to homosexuality, the consecration of gay bishops and marriage equality.

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