[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 15:01 GMT
Gay bishop at Oxford Union debate
The Right Reverend Gene Robinson
Bishop Robinson withdrew from an earlier debate
The first openly gay Anglican bishop is to appear at the Oxford Union to debate the question of whether homosexuality is a bar to becoming a bishop.

The Bishop of New Hampshire in the US, Gene Robinson, had withdrawn from the original debate last year after the controversy caused by his appointment.

The Anglican Church remains divided over the ordination of gay priests.

Church traditionalists believe homosexuality is inherently sinful and bars gays becoming bishops.

Gay Christian pressure group

Debating with Bishop Robinson will be Richard Kirker, general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

Former bishop of Woolwich, Rt Rev Colin Buchanan, and tutor in Christian ethics Andrew Goddard will debate against the motion.

Bishop Robinson will also attend events to mark the 10th anniversary of gay Christian pressure group Changing Attitude.

Bishop Robinson's ordination in 2003 prompted the Church to examine how it would cope with the issue which threatened to split the worldwide Church.

Earlier this year, the US Church, in a move to halt a slide towards a formal split, said it would not appoint new bishops or bless same-sex relationships for at least one year.

Director of Changing Attitude, the Reverend Colin Coward, said he was "sure" Bishop Robinson was concerned about the continuing tension but stood by the move.

He has adopted and maintains a lifestyle that is totally contrary to the will of God as declared in the written word of God
The Rev George Curry
Chairman of the Church Society

He said: "He believes, as do the majority of the Episcopal Church in the US, that after a 30-year period of exploring the place of lesbian and gay people in the Church, that the Church made a corporate decision and believes it to be absolutely right.

"He believes that he received a call from God to be ordained as a priest and then as a bishop and nothing has changed his belief in the call since then."

"He has adopted and maintains a lifestyle that is totally contrary to the will of God as declared in the written word of God," said the Rev George Curry, chairman of the Church Society, an evangelical grouping within the Church of England.

"We have a collective failure of leadership unfortunately - there may be individuals who are the exception to the rule - amongst the bishops of the Church of England to maintain and teach orthodoxy in as clear and as gracious a manner as they should do."

Bishop Robinson lives with his partner Mark Andrew.

He has two daughters from a failed marriage.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific