THINKING ANGLICANS

Letter to Rowan Williams from Metropolitan Community Church leaders

Back in June, we noted that a Church Times leader had said this about that Legal Opinion, which was first reported much earlier in May.

In May, our view was a negative one, since the document listed several reasons why the appointment of a gay bishop could be blocked. This week’s positive spin has not changed our opinion. As the leaders of the “gay-led” Metropolitan Commun­ity Church in Manchester wrote to Dr Williams this week, “We note that [unlike a gay candidate] heterosexual candidates for bishop­rics are not asked to repent of any sexual activity with which the Crown Appointments Commission may be uncom­fortable.” More than one serving bishop has said that he would have con­sidered it an impertinence had he been asked about his sexual history.

The legal advice has no more weight now than before it was circulated to Synod members. It was not approved by the Bishops when they discussed it in May, not least because, to many, the brief was not how to remove discrimination within the Church, but how to continue it untroubled by the law.

The full text of the letter to Rowan Williams from MCC leaders mentioned above (and which was published here) is copied in full below the fold.

Dear Archbishop Rowan,

As leaders of the lgbt-led Metropolitan Community Church in the United Kingdom we wish to publically voice our dismay at the legal advice which has been given to the Church of England regarding the possibility of openly gay men being consecrated as bishops.

We understand that the legal advice suggests that there should be no bar, per se, to gay men serving as bishops provided that they repent of any same sex activity before they entered the priesthood, have lived by the requirement to be celibate since ordination and promise to continue to be celibate.

We feel that the spectacle of the Church of England trying to avoid complying with the law is unedifying and betrays a deep unease about the wonderful diversity of human sexuality. We note that heterosexual candidates for bishoprics are not asked to repent of any sexual activity with which the Crown Appointments Commission may be uncomfortable. We also note that Jeffrey John, an outstanding priest and leader of the Church of England, has publically stated he remains celibate out of fidelity to your church’s teaching yet he was still blocked from preferment. Even when we keep your rules, we’re still discriminated against.

We also think the policy of requiring celibacy will simply make the Church of England look even more ridiculous and open yourselves up to the most dreadful kind of casuistry as people wonder what, exactly celibacy requires. Could, for example, a gay bishop kiss his partner? Does the bishop and his partner have to sleep in separate rooms in the episcopal palace, or would twin beds in the same room suffice? If twin beds are acceptable what would be a “celibate” distance between the beds – 5 feet, 10 feet, or opposite ends of the room? Do any lapses in this celibacy rule have to be reported and, if so, to whom? The Archbishop of the Province? Her Majesty The Queen? The Prime Minister? The Diocesan Synod or just the local press?

The failure of the Church of England to embrace the reality of the diversity of human sexuality repels people from the wider Church as we are all deemed to be intolerant.

We are an lgbt-led church, yet we talk far more about mission than we do about sexuality. We commend this approach to you. In an age where many people are “spiritual but not religious”, where society is increasingly open to lesbian and gay people and where there is great hunger for authentic spirituality it is sad to see the energy and resources of the Church of England be used to avoid the provisions of the Equalities Act.

Yours Sincerely,

The Reverends Andy Braunston, Kieren Bourne, Jane Clarke, Catherine Dearlove, Chris Dowd, Debbie Gaston, Sharon Ferguson, Dwayne Morgan, Maxwell Reay, and Ruth Scott.

6
Leave a Reply

avatar
6 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
TWRLaurence RobertsJCFFr MarkLeonardo Ricardo Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Muthah+
Guest

Thanks for posting this. The MCC does know how to confront the idiocy of discrimination. The ABC just doesn’t get it. What a shame for someone who is so lettered.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Oh, those silly/goofy/overheated, trouble making, progressives! On and on they go, have they no shame! (tiny snear forming at corner of my mouth) If it weren´t for the fact that ¨certain¨ wickedones are simply trying to embarass dear Dr. Williams (and interfer with his *harmless* Anglican punitive covenant) this whole ¨Gay¨ bishop issue/letter wouldn´t even be fit for print…but, alas, gay scandals make headlines these days/daze. Just imagine, these largely degenerate, now and forever, Gay people think they are entitled to be treated exactly like heterosexuals at ALL levels of Churchlife at the Church of England and throughout the Anglican… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Good for the MCC, reminding us that the C of E leadership is currently more interested in maintaining Pharisaism than the way of Jesus.

There are some real Christians about elsewhere, thank goodness; more power to the elbow of the MCC!

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Does the bishop and his partner have to sleep in separate rooms in the episcopal palace, or would twin beds in the same room suffice? If twin beds are acceptable what would be a “celibate” distance between the beds – 5 feet, 10 feet, or opposite ends of the room? Do any lapses in this celibacy rule have to be reported and, if so, to whom? … Her Majesty The Queen?”

WIN. Rowan Cantuar, are you *embarrassed* now??? [And if not, why not?]

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

It is encouraging to know that the heads of a denomination actually talk gay sense.

TWR
Guest
TWR

I speak as a young lay anglican who does think that the recapitulative work of Christ in creation will eventually mean no distinction between male and female, gay or straight but all shall be one in Christ. Thus, the Church needs to respond to God’s initiative and reflect his love for humanity. Unfortunately, the above letter, and indeed many of the arguments from those who believe homosexuality to be a sin in itself, lacks a sense of charity and prayerfulness which the church needs in order to exist as communion.