Thinking Anglicans

Irish evangelicals oppose civil partnerships

The Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy has released some information about the meeting earlier this week which was attended by the Bishop of Lewes.

See Fellowship declares its opposition to civil unions from the Portadown Times.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Irish Clergy (EFIC) said the civil partnership of Portadown-born Tom Gordon and New Zealander Mark Duley has made it “very difficult” for the CoI to stay united.

The Rev Trevor Johnston chaired a meeting in Belfast on Monday addressed by the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, who last year caused a furore in the Church of England when he made a highly controversial comment about women bishops.

Mr Johnston told the Portadown Times, “There are usually around 40 clergy at our EFIC meetings, but Monday’s was attended by 80 from all over Ireland, with 80 per cent of them rectors and all strongly opposed to same sex partnerships. The main purpose of the meeting was Bible study, but this issue was discussed widely and clergy from all over Ireland are opposed.

“The Bible is unequivocal throughout, and the meeting took place in a very serious mood. There was a groundswell of distress by people who do not want to see their church divided over this issue, but it will be very difficult to hold the Church of Ireland together.”

He added that the bishops’ conference in the spring and then the General Synod could be a watershed for the church, “and this crisis will be very hard to resolve”.

There are letters on this subject in this week’s Church of Ireland Gazette (scroll down).

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Father Ron SmithDavid OxleyChris SmithSteven McQuittykaren macqueen+_ Recent comment authors
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Kelvin Holdsworth
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It would be helpful in order to gain some perspective to have an idea how many rectors there are in the C of I. Anyone know?

karen macqueen+_
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Here we go again. The evangelicals and other conservatives have lit their hair on fire once more and threaten us that if we don’t agree with them they will burn down the house. They threaten us that they will be forced into schism rather than to tolerate the vowed love between two persons. Once again, they drag the name of Jesus through the mud and they use the Bible not as the good news of Jesus Christ but as a weapon against their fellow Christians. Is it any wonder that the average Irish person sees the Church more as a… Read more »

Steven McQuitty
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Steven McQuitty

Kelvin – I am reliably informed there are approximately 896 clergy in the C of I (including retired clergy).

So if 64 clergy attended the EFIC meeting (80% of 80 people) that would be about 7% of all the Irish clergy.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

Perhaps the homophobia these conservatives publicly exhibit will ignite disgust and disapproval from the public at large. The sheer hypocrisy of those who do not want to see inclusive theology applied to women’s ordination to priesthood and episcopate and same-gender marriage may yield a reaction the Far Right has not counted on from the general population of Ireland. Fairness and justice issues trump right wing political attacks on fellow citizens.

David Oxley
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David Oxley

There are about 450 parish units (and therefore rectors)in the CofI. It would be quite interesting to see a few names… This is not just about homophobia of course. Reform Ireland have had a long campaign against the House of Bishops and especially the (former)Theological College, which was damned for its middle-of-the-road liberalish catholicish ethos (Not that there would be anything exactly tridentine in the CofI). And of course a former lecturer was…one Tom Gordon. Payback time, do you think? I suspect that the average view on homosexuality in the church here is “dont ask, dont tell”; but we’re very… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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One must expect violent opposition from the nay-sayers on aspects of gender and sexuality in the Church. Enlightenment can be a very painful experience. Look at Galileo!