Church of Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and leaders from four other Anglican provinces announced last week their intention to boycott the 2008 Lambeth Conference to protest the invitations extended to U.S. Episcopal Church leaders who consecrated a gay bishop in 2003. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.
In a statement dated Feb 18, he said he and his bishops "have developed strong fellowship links with the many Anglican Christians all over the world who feel as we do that the crisis over human sexuality is of momentous significance, and who are determined not to accept unbiblical teaching and sinful practice."
V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop at the centre of the current controversy, himself has not been invited as a participating bishop.
Last week Archbishops Orombi, Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, and Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone (South America) signed an open letter explaining their decision to rebuff the 10-yearly gathering of the world's Anglican bishops.
The Church of Uganda, which has more than 8 million members, had declared itself to be in a state of "broken communion" with the Episcopal Church. It had also issued a separate statement on Feb 15 calling for the American Church to "halt further consecrations of practicing homosexuals and ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex unions."
The statements referenced the resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference that rejected "homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture" as well as the blessing of same-sex unions.
However, in 2003, leaders of the US Episcopal Church decided to confirm Robinson and passed a Resolution that would recognise same-sex blessings taking place in individual Dioceses and Parishes.
A number of Anglican leaders including the six archbishops, who had announced their boycott of the Lambeth Conference, will be holding a meeting in Israel in June to "provide opportunities for fellowship and care for those who have decided not to attend Lambeth."
In Canada, the largest single congregation St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver and six other parishes have split from the national church last week and have put themselves under the authority of the Province of the Southern Cone, which encompasses parts of South America.
While the East Asian dioceses have not publicly commented on the current developments, a number of bishops including Rt Rev Dr John Chew, Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in South-east Asia as well as bishops in the Philippines, Korea and Hong Kong, expressed their objection to the election of Bishop Robinson and the Diocese of New Westminster's (Canada) decision to bless same sex marriage in its churches in a 2004 statement on globalsouthanglican.org.