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Archbishop of Canterbury won’t change decision not to invite gay bishop to Anglican summit

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    LONDON (AP) — The archbishop of Canterbury said Friday he will not reverse his decision to exclude a gay U.S. bishop from joining other bishops at a global Anglican gathering next year.
    Archbishop Rowan Williams’ office said he had also not changed his mind about refusing an invitation to Martyn Minns, a traditionalist U.S. priest who was consecrated as a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.
    Williams said he has also recruited professional help in trying to reach greater understanding between the U.S. Episcopal Church and its critics both at home and abroad. Williams’ office was unable to say immediately whether any invitations had been extended or accepted.
    In his Advent message to leaders of Anglican national churches, Williams said Episcopal Church pledges of a moratorium on confirming any more gay bishops or on approving blessings of homosexual unions have not been accepted by all parts of the communion.
    ‘‘Given the differences in response to the Episcopal Church revealed in the responses of the primates, we simply cannot pretend that there is now a ready-made consensus on the future of relationships between (the Episcopal Church) and other provinces,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Much work remains to be done.’’
    Statements by individual U.S. bishops that seemed to deviate from the declarations the bishops agreed to in New Orleans in September have complicated the situation, the archbishop said.
    Williams also had stern words for Anglican leaders who have threatened not to attend the Lambeth Conference, held every 10 years and scheduled to start in July in Canterbury.
    The head of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, has threatened to boycott the session because Williams also refused an invitation to Minns.
    ‘‘I have said that the refusal to meet can be a refusal of the cross — and so of the Resurrection,’’ Williams said.
    ‘‘We are being asked to see our handling of conflict and potential division as part of our maturing both as pastors and as disciples. I do not think this is either an incidental matter or an evasion of more basic questions.’’
    Williams called for professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of the Episcopal Church ‘‘and those with whom they are most in dispute, internally and externally, to see if we can generate any better level of mutual understanding.’’
    ‘‘Such meetings will not seek any predetermined outcome but will attempt to ease tensions and clarify options,’’ he said.
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