New Hampshire Episcopalians elect gay bishop
Episcopalians in the Diocese of New Hampshire overwhelmingly elected V. Gene Robinson to be their next bishop Saturday, marking the first time that an Anglican diocese has picked an openly noncelibate gay man for the post. In 1990, Robinson announced that he was gay, and left his wife and two daughters (the daughters attended yesterday's vote).

"We will show the world how to be a Christian community," Robinson promised. "I plan to be a good bishop, not a gay bishop."

"This is a breakthrough for which we've been waiting," Charles Bennison, bishop of Pennsylvania, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

But conservatives in the Episcopal Church U.S.A., and in the larger Anglican Communion to which it belongs, are decrying the election as another step away from biblical mandates.

"Reaction is already coming in by e-mail, and it is mixed," ECUSA press officer James Solheim told The New York Times. "Some people are already announcing that this is the last straw, they're leaving the Episcopal Church."

Bishops in Pittsburgh and South Carolina have already opposed the election.

Robert Duncan, the bishop of Pittsburgh, called Robinson's election "a grevious wound" to the Episcopal Church, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and Christians everywhere. "Whether this election will prove a mortal wound to the Episcopal Church is a determination that cannot now be made, but this revolutionary decision most assuredly has that possibility," he said. "For Episcopalians and Anglicans this is a time for sustained fasting and prayer. For all Christians, of their charity, it is a time to ask the Lord's mercy, guidance, provision and deliverance."

"The Anglican Communion now faces one of its greatest crises ever over the question of whether or not same-sex relationships are sinful or to be blessed by the church," Bishop of South Carolina Edward L. Salmon Jr. and his assistant, Bishop Suffragan William J. Skilton, said in a joint statement. "This election causes us the gravest possible concern, for if the church ratifies it, we would clearly be approving of the relationship in which Gene Robinson is involved. This is not about a person or a diocesan election process; it is about a radical change in church doctrine."

Likewise, Anglican groups that are working to reform the ECUSA, or have already distanced themselves from it over homosexuality and other issues expressed their sadness at the news.

For ongoing coverage from an orthodox perspective, be sure to check out Classical Anglican Net News.

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