Susan Russell has the story of how Bishop Dabney Smith of the Diocese of Southwest Florida withdrew permission he had previously granted for Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire to speak at a Sarasota church. Bishop Smith has apparently taken a lesson from the Jeffrey John chapter of the Rowan Williams playbook entitled, "How to Alienate your Supporters without Placating your Adversaries."
The bishop has decided that it is too politically costly to allow the listening process, recommended in Lambeth Resolution 1.10, to take place in his jurisdiction. Here is how the rector of the church which had invited Robinson explained Smith's decision to his parish:
Bishop Smith said he took this action because of all the heat he is getting. Previously Bishop Smith had given his permission for the visit and said it was not a problem for him although he anticipated a reaction. He told me that it has been more of a reaction than he anticipated.
Smith's decision raises the larger question of which Episcopal bishops will be permitted to speak at churches in the Tampa/ St. Petersburgh area. Does a bishop who participated in Robinson's consecration pass muster? How about a bishop who voted with the majority in affirming Robinson's election? Is any speaker subject to cancellation if sufficient outrage can be generated, or just the gay ones?
The church awaits clarification on these issues from Bishop Smith, or whichever group is now making up his mind for him.
In the meantime, the disenchanted can buy this button.