Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bp. Robinson's Invitation to Southwest Florida Withdrawn

Susan Russell points us to some sad news. Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire accepted an invitation to be guest and speaker at Saint Boniface Episcopal Church, Sarasota, Florida on January 16-20, 2008. Bishop Dabney Smith of Southwest Florida gave permission for Bishop Robinson to visit, and even described it as "an important part of the listening process which is key to the Windsor and Lambeth recommendations for the Anglican Communion."

Yesterday, the following memo was released:

Bishop Dabney Smith just called to tell me that he has contacted Bishop Gene Robinson again and asked him to decline the invitation to speak here in January. Bishop Smith said he took this action because of all the heat he is getting. Previously Bishop Smith had given his permission for the visit and said it was not a problem for him although he anticipated a reaction. He told me that it has been more of a reaction than he anticipated. Bishop Robinson is on sabbatical and is out of the country (he was in New Zealand when they talked). I anticipate that we will hear from his office in New Hampshire to confirm this.

Many people will be disappointed about this but we can choose to see this as an opportunity to continue the conversation about what it means to be the Episcopal Church in the 21st century. I believe it may be important for Bishop Smith to hear from people who thought that Bishop Robinson's visit would have furthered the conversation called for throughout the Anglican Communion.
Louie Crew offers this response to Bp. Robinson being un-invited by Bp. Smith:

You know opposition is losing when opposition resorts to the tyranny of ideas, afraid to allow anyone even to listen to a point of view not approved by the one in power.

This country was built on strong advocacy for the right -- even the obligation -- of persons to expose themselves to all points of view before holding a point of view themselves.

Probably Bishop Smith is thoroughly within his rights as a bishop to cancel any presentation if doing so helps him save his skin. I hope that he can sleep in that skin.

When you want to know why most young people don't give the church the time of day, you need look no farther. Bishop Smith's cowardice gives me the creeps and makes me embarrassed to be an Episcopalian.
The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith can be contacted at:

7313 Merchant Court
Sarasota, FL 34240
(941) 556-0315
Toll-free: (800) 992-7699
Fax: (941) 556-0321

dsmith(at)episcopalswfl(dot)org

Remember to show respect for the office by being courteous.

And for your efforts, here's a new button to add to your collection.

J.

No comments: