OMG! This is awesome! Fantastic!
Awesome! Brilliant! Wonderful! Praise be to God! Hallelujah!
I hope more people sign, especially lay people to back the clergy, some of whom may be at risk.
Every author and signatory must know full and well that Welby will ignore the letter, so it's wholly symbolic. That being so, while it covered a lot of necessary bases, it's a shame that it didn't unequivocally condemn Lambeth 1.10, demand its repeal, and demand that the homophobic provinces be expelled before they have a chance to jump.
If you're gonna make a gesture, may as well go for the home run.
It's an open letter. Everybody sign!
95% excellent. It would be 100% but they associate LGBTI only with sexual orientation not sexual orientation and gender presentation.
(I know some would say gender identity but that doesn't cover intersex individuals very well and it needs to be something pithy)
I & T - groups so marginalised even those on their side overlook them.
Your Graces I implore you and your primates to prayerfully consider this letter.As Christians we should not cross over to the other side of the road because of our brother/sisters sexuality. In Jesus name Amen
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"we urge you to be prophetic in your action and Christ-like in your love towards our LGBTI sisters and brothers who have been ignored and even vilified for too long."
I find this letter to be healing already. To be re-affirmed that I'm a sister in Christ to be embraced and celebrated is balm for the soul.
"Acknowledgement that we, the Church, have failed in our duty of care to LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world."
This concern for LGBTI members around the world is even more bold than TEC. Glory, glory, hallelujah!
"Repentance for accepting and promoting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, and for the pain and rejection that this has caused."
Speaking strategically only, one wonders what effect this will have on the 38-40 primates gathered from throughout the world? If I were the primate of SE Asia, or Sudan, e.g., what would I make of this call to repent by leaders in England?
My reaction would likely be to see the serious challenge faced by the Archbishop of Canterbury within sections of his own church, and to increase my sympathy for him in his effort to keep things together in accordance with present CofE teaching. If I were disposed to distrust his conservative bearing and leadership, I might well reconsider in the light of a very demanding local context.
Very disappointing to see that with one exception the letter was not signed by a representative of any Anglican religious communities. Are they not considered 'important' or 'leaders'? I had believed that in general the communities were accepting and supportive of LGBTI people. Perhaps this is not the case.
Praying for you and our church.
Cseitz, that's 'cause, while you may hold to conservative theology, as shown by your reasonable and moderate posts, your position's a world away from the Gafcon bossmen.
They'll likely see this as evidence of Welby's craven weakness in the face of Western decadence at its most squalid. They'll be baffled why he tolerates this level of dissent from what they take to be the clear-cut teaching of scripture. They sure wouldn't.
If anything, it'll enrage them further, and steel their resolve to demand our way, or the highway. These aren't mere primates, they're prince bishops of the old school, dukes of battle, and Welby will be told in no uncertain terms to submit, or be cast aside. A company man who takes this ain't no boss to bossmen. He can thank his lucky stars that, for all that, his opponents are still Christians. Absent that restraint, they'd really get medieval on his mitre.
James Byron as a signatory I do not assume ++ Justin will ignore this. It is already becoming too big for that in any case. And as a Christian I believe people can change.
"And blessed are you, when you are persecuted for my sake, and the sake of the 'very demanding local context'".
It would be inspiring and refreshing if Christian hierarchs treated LGBTQ Christians (and non-Christians) as they would wish to be treated themselves.
I feel better in myself, for seeing this.
Dean David Ison was awesome on the Sunday programme - my kind of Evangelical ! But this is where I am, too, myself.
Dean of St George's Cathedral, Cape Town
"Every author and signatory must know full and well that Welby will ignore the letter, so it's wholly symbolic."
Cantuar and Ebor will not ignore it. Rather, they will appreciate it.
At the very least, it will help prove to the six "I'm leaving on the first day" primates that (i) Cantuar is in no position to do what they demand; (ii) the pro-LGBTI-equality wing includes some extremely eminent CofE figures; and (iii) these eminent Anglicans couch their argument in moral-theological terms, as a "call to repentance".
Conservatives might try a counter-letter, but within a day or two they will be sharing an ideological corner with six primates who engaged in schism in order to perpetuate discrimination.
That's a bad, even awful, position.
The anti-LGBTI wing will have played their "best" card, but it won't have had much effect on others. And indeed it will have tarred all conservatives with a very nasty brush.
Meanwhile, the supplemental signers of today's letter appear to include retired Bishop of Argyll Martin Shaw (now in Exeter), two baronesses, several archdeacons, dozens of rectors and vicars, and more academics, church musicians, and theologians, plus a lot of laypeople.
Archbishops need to be led. May the list of supplemental signers grow further.
Praise God we must be all inclusive. Love one another.
David and Jeremy, I stand corrected, and would be overjoyed to be wrong about the letter's impact. I hope I am. We shall soon see.
Only disappointed that there is not a single current Diocesan in this list of signatories. It seems that the Deans are the prophetic voices of hope in the Church of England.
Fr. Paul, absolutely.
If anyone here knows Nicholas Holtam, it'd be excellent if they could get in touch, and invite him to add his name. Given his previous statements, he could, surely, have no objection.
I sent Ebor a similar email six months ago. His reply makes me feel His Grace will not appreciate the open letter one jot,
(My email was of course much less refined than the brilliantly written open letter. Our emails were private so I have not, and will not, publish it.)
"Only disappointed that there is not a single current Diocesan in this list of signatories."
Presumably, after the six primates leave, Cantuar will try to get Lambeth 2018 back on track.
To that end, he has doubtless asked the English House of Bishops to refrain from controversy.
It's the same old unity-over-justice thinking.
Of course by the end of this week, the House of Bishops should realise that it isn't getting unity.
You might think that the bishops would start to draw the obvious conclusion.
What this shows, Christopher, is an object lesson and a reality check. No one can dictate conscience. Because the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice (justice being the public expression of love, according to Cornel West). Because the Incarnation is the Good News of Great Joy for All People, everywhere. This is what the signers just affirmed.
The culture wars are doomed to failure because oppression and repression are not sustainable and it's unseemly for the church to be on the oppressive side.
I am deeply, deeply grateful to the leaders who composed and signed this letter. As a gay person in the world I've suffered workplace discrimination, several severe depressions because of that and the awful rhetoric of hate, and though my immediate family was accepting and loving, an in-law just couldn't refrain from making her last verbal attack at my mothers funeral in November. I'm sure she feels justified by her conservative church. Fortunately, I'm privileged enough to have a roof overhead, food on the table, I'm not in jail, and I can afford therapy. But what about those more vulnerable sisters and brothers? They really need the message delivered by the signers of the letter. They needed it badly.
Well done. Thank you. And now I hope that the primates can work out how to get along together knowing that no dictates are going to work, and they were never godly in the first place.
Dear Mr Byron,
Thank you for the compliment.
I feel I have a fairly good sense of the permutations that bring together and also differentiate Primates like +Indian Ocean, +Nigeria, +Burundi, +Sudan, +Middle East, +SE Asia, +Uganda.
It was in the light of that that I wrote as I did.
Gafcon has its own internal nuances, and the wider GS even more so.
As hard as it may be to believe, the internal dynamics of the CofE are not as obvious to outsiders as insiders may believe. Whilst 105 'leaders' is what it is--and equally what it isn't--a pressure statement like this will catch the attention of many Primates wondering just how to face into the meeting.
Kate, that is disappointing to hear.
Yet later this week, if he thinks about it, Ebor should be quite happy to have some evidence that indicates, and indicates strongly, that the Church of England does not share the views that the departing Primates will surely express, as they leave.
Later this week official CofE thinking may finally turn from the strategy of keeping Nigeria, etc., in the Communion, because they will have left, and turn back to England, where quite frankly that same strategy has done untold damage.
I think all those retired bishops should have been asked if they would have signed it if they had still been in post, and when they had answered "no" - with probably very few honourable exceptions - should have been told where to shove it.
We all know craven bishops who only find their conscience when it can't harm their careers
As others have commented, the absence of support for this statement from serving English Bishops (Buckingham the honourable exception) is striking. All this talk about 'leadership' in the Church of England, but when it counts, we get silence and fence-sitting. An indictment of the lack of moral fibre amongst our current Bishops.
At the time I copied and pasted the list of supplementary signatures just after midnight on Sunday night, it had 2858 people on it - a fantastic response and a wonderful cross-section of Christians, from across the whole spectrum, many of obvious experience and responsibility.
In many ways, this list sends a very strong signal to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York that their attempt to impose a dogmatic uniformity on the Church of England cannot be achieved by picking off a few sacrificial lambs.
This list is a wake up call to the reality that there are large numbers of people of good conscience who do not agree with the 'supposed' position of the Church on human sexuality. It also in many ways outflanks the English Archbishops, because what can they do? Fire all the people on this list who hold positions and roles in our Church? And it also sends a message to Archbishops from overseas who might try to browbeat the Church of England into enforcing a uniformity (as the Covenant tried to do).
It isn't possible. The 'inclusive' horse has bolted. This list demonstrates that Christians at large have no inclination to turn back, and are ashamed of the Church leadership, and the harm done to LGBT lives - not to mention the damage done to the Church as a whole, and its haemorrhaging reputation.
I agree with the letter supporting LGBTQ people.
Consciences and careers? Currently I am a retired priest of the Anglican Church of Australia. The hierarchy seem totally oblivious to the pain they choose to cause by omission. Six months ago my partner of ten years, David, died unexpectedly. I informed the local bishop by leaving a message (he was not available). There was total silence.
David was buried from the parish church by a friend. The vicar attended and read a collect. Afterwards he said, "Give me a call if you need me." If it had not been for the laity in the parish I fear I might have been overwhelmed by grief.
Since then I have had to move cities and now I am asking myself whether I should even bother to approach the diocesan in the new area for permission to officiate. The bishop's attitude could be interesting, having already had a career in the real world. This bishop is female.
It would be mildly interesting to know the process by which the original signatories were obtained. The large number of Deans might suggest all Deans were approached, so can we assume that Deans not included specifically declined? Were all bishops actually approached, or only selected bishops?
I believe Jayne Ozanne has approached a very large number of high profile Christians and offered them the opportunity to sign the letter. I would be extremely surprised if she had not offered it to Nick Holtam and David Walker.
Someone here bemoaned the fact that it doesn't mention sex. That is precisely its strength, because as David Runcorn pointed out somewhere, there is nothing in this letter even a conservative person could not sign.
The big question is why they don't, and the even bigger question is why supposedly liberal bishops don't.
It's not for a lack of opportunity.
What a shame that, judging by the distinguished signatories, tolerance doesn't seem to have spread to the south west's biggest city - Plymouth.
So where are the other bishops . Current bishop of Salisbury ?
This is pathetic . Stand up and be counted. Be prophetic. Jesus was
Erika, I agree that its strength is that it doesn't mention sex. I was one of those who have signed it on the website but I would probably not have supported it had it mentioned sex.
Discussing homosexuality on many African visits, I realise that the view held by most is that homosexuality is unnatural and therefore, as God's people, banning it is doing God's work, and saving these people from their sin! Can the Archbishop not get along some scientists - biologists, psychologists etc to explain incontrovertibly that this is not the case - some people are born gay?! This is not about protecting different cultural attitudes - it is about fact, and adhering to the belief that Christ would have done everything, in his context, to protect innocent discriminated minorities. This is the evidence they need to show to their folk back home.
Where is it possible to see all the signatures? Isigned but can't find the list oflater signers? Thanks.
Sara, I found the list (and signed it) via the BBC website and its report on the letter.
The list needs some checking. I have already noticed one name appearing twice, and early on some malicious idiot has thought it amusing to sign him/herself as "Rev. Politically Correct, Bishop".
The list of signatures is on the "Add Your Signature" page below the form.
The list is in a frame, and some browsers allow you to open this on its own in a new tab - right click anywhere in the list and see what comes up in the menu that this opens up.
I've had a look myself and your name is there.
"Please be assured of our prayers for you at this time, and that the world will know by our words and actions that everyone who is baptised into the faith is of equal value in our Lord Jesus Christ."
Does this include the majority of African Christians, who seem to be treated as not-quite-up-to-date by 'progressives'?
"Does this include the majority of African Christians, who seem to be treated as not-quite-up-to-date by 'progressives'?"
Everyone is equal in the Lord. But I'm curious, are you saying that there is an equivalency between human rights violations (and hate speech) and victimized LGBTQ people?
Is the charge here that because "progressives" speak up about human rights violations, hate crimes, and hate speech we are being racist towards some African Christians?
Right. The progressive response to human suffering being inflicted by people in Christ's name ought to be silence?
May your partner rest in peace, and rise in glory.
Here's hope for us in the TEC (it's likely to be longer than 400 words, but I hope you'll publish)-
I come from one of the most backward, bible-thumping, right-wing parts of an otherwise wonderful nation. I am in a liberal church, in an economically-depressed region. We have a young, gay-affirming priest, given to a rather high liturgy. We have people in our parish that express admiration for Trump, others who support Sanders. I have actually heard us referred to as the "gay church" in our sadly ignorant little city/town.
A recipe for disaster.
In the past ten years, we have acquired a prime piece of property, built a new parish hall *and* a new church building. We have paid it off fully. We have grown by at least 30%, and I expect more, as of recent, and most all of these are young, dedicated, with family. We formed a unique structure - thanks to the Concordat - and are actually both TEC and the ELCA church in town - St. Patrick's and Our Savior. When I speak of growth, I speak of our TEC congregation, but the Lutheran congregation has had additions, as well. We have two services - Lutheran and Episcopal - on Sundays, and the movement of parishioners between the two is fairly fluid. We have formed a family.
In this part of Georgia, there are organizations in the conservative churches for "Jewish outreach" and the infamous "Jews for Jesus" ministries. We, being TEC, deplore that and do not engage in those ministries. We have maintained strong ties with the Reform Synagogue in town. I hope, and believe, that we are friends across faiths.
This Sunday, we welcomed an adult female convert from the Jewish faith. Not because we proselytized, not because she was getting married, not because of political considerations, but because she saw something in us. Her sister has not converted, nor do we seek her doing so, but she and her husband came to see her baptized. Of all the churches with a "Jewish outreach," she chose the one that simply loved her, however she was.
So, tell me we're dying, that God punishes us for our stance, that we are apostates, heretics, in gross error, and I will point back to this, because, in Christianity, anecdotal evidence DOES count. God blesses us, still.
Mark, your parish sounds wonderful! Our parish, in Denver, is also growing with young families. We've been gay friendly for decades, but in Denver that's not really a stand out. The latest parish statistics indicate that 30 percent of parishes and dioceses are growing, and that the ones that are growing are inevitably liberal. Our situation, and the ones I visit, are thriving.
CoE runs regular schools and terrific choir schools. I'm sure that more families would participate in the life of the church if their children wouldn't be exposed to homophobia, and remaining pockets of misogyny.
Liberation is liberating.
This letter is cosmic. It helps bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice and it reaffirms the Incarnation, that brings Great News of Great Joy to All People, everywhere ("everywhere" is the literal Greek).
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All the women bishops were well chosen...all safe pairs of hands..as I previously stated when commentators were falling over themselves praising individuals.
I am glad your parish is doing well, too, Cynthia! Indeed, Christ came to set the prisoners free, not to put in a new group of guards.
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