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Episcopalians, Homosexuality, and World Mission

Willis Jenkins

Worldwide response to the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop has been vociferous, with bishops from the global south registering particular distress and condemnation. But why is it that Anglicans from quite distant churches, many facing their own dire challenges, have become so disturbed over homosexuality within another province? The answer has to do in part with a prior retreat from international companionship by the Episcopal Church, especially its liberals/progressives. Moreover, in the same measure as their absence from mission relationships, Episcopalians have missed the peculiar ways homosexuality has become significant for the missions of many southern churches, and so have misunderstood both what is at stake in the international debate, and how this has come to bear on their internal debate. Yet if the crisis is indeed missiological at root, there is hope for renewal, just insofar as the Episcopal Church moves toward beoming a more faithful mission companion.

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