Ugandan Anglicans Rescind N.H. Invite

Church leaders here have told American supporters of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire that they are not welcome at the consecration of the new leader of Uganda's Anglicans.

The Rev. Stanley Ntagari, secretary of the Church of Uganda, said Monday that church officials identified U.S. clergymen who supported Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson and told them not to attend the Jan. 25 ceremony.

Invitations to Bishop Henry Orombi's consecration as archbishop of Uganda were sent out before Robinson's election to be bishop in charge of the New Hampshire Diocese.

"The New Hampshire diocese had replied that it is sending a delegation. But then on November 1, the New Hampshire diocese consecrated a gay bishop, and we have written to them that they are not welcome. We have written to the bishop of the Episcopal church of USA that their delegation is not welcome," Ntagari said.

"But we have invited the faithful bishops, opposed to gays, to come. Individual bishops have been singled out because we know them," he said.

The Episcopal church is part of the worldwide Anglican communion, but each national church is independent. Robinson's consecration as a bishop in November 2003 created a crisis in the Anglican church, since bishops are normally universally recognized by all churches.

Most Anglican groups outside the United States oppose the ordination of gay clergy. Uganda's Anglican church severed ties with the New Hampshire Diocese and later with the U.S. Episcopal church to protest Robinson's promotion.

The Ugandan Anglican claims an estimated 8 million members.