London — The first openly gay U.S. Episcopal bishop was barred from a once-a-decade Anglican meeting so he wouldn't become a focus of the global event.
Anglicans on all sides of the issue agree: The strategy has backfired.
New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson has been embraced by sympathetic Anglicans in England and Scotland who view his exclusion as an affront to their Christian beliefs.
Robinson plans several appearances on the outskirts of the Lambeth Conference to be what he called a "constant and friendly" reminder of gays in the church.
"I'm just not willing to let the bishops meet and pretend that we don't exist," Robinson said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press before preaching at St. Mary's Church Putney. "They've taken vows to serve all the people in dioceses, not just certain ones."
The Anglican spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, did not include Robinson and a few other bishops in the conference as he tried to prevent a split in the world Anglican Communion.
The 77 million-member fellowship - the third-largest in the world behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians - has been on the brink of schism since Robinson was consecrated in 2003.
The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the U.S.