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More fallout from gay bishop conflict.

The Anglican Church in Central America (Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central America, or IARCA) is the latest province to divide over the consecration of New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson last November.

The Episcopal Church of Guatemala issued a statement distancing itself from its primate, Bishop Martin Barahona, who participated in the consecration of Bishop Robinson, a gay man who is in a committed relationship.

"We consider that this action does not reflect a complete opinion of the Anglican Church in Central America, and in particular the Episcopal Church of Guatemala," said the statement.

Bishop Barahona later issued an open letter explaining why he participated in the ceremony.

"While a diocese can call someone to serve as a bishop via a democratic election, we also know that a vocation to a ministry is a call from God, and God calls those whom He wants," said Bishop Barahona.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Nigeria chose not to attend the annual meeting of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, which met recently in Canterbury, because of the presence of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Peter Akinola said that he would not sit in any meeting with representatives of ECUSA as that province allowed Bishop Robinson's consecration.

On the same day that Archbishop Akinola pulled out of the meeting, Bishop Robinson announced that he had withdrawn from speaking at the Oxford Union debating society scheduled for last month.

"It has now become clear to me that for me to participate (in the Oxford debate) would not be in the best interests of the Anglican Communion at this delicate moment in history," Bishop Robinson said in a statement.

Organizers of the debate reacted strongly to the news saying that Bishop Robinson may have been pressured not to attend the event.

Edwin Tomlinson, president of the Oxford Union, said that the Lambeth Commission was acting "as a gagging order, rather than a catalyst for discussion."

With files from ACNS and Church Times
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Title Annotation:World
Publication:Anglican Journal
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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