Update Thursday The Guardian today carries a news report by Stephen Bates on this, see Church rift deepens over gay bishop’s visit.
The London Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship Committee has sent a letter to DEF members, which criticises the plans for the Changing Attitude service described here.
The full text of this letter can be found below the fold.
15th October 2005
Re: The forthcoming visit of Bishop Gene Robinson to London (5 Nov 2005)
At our recent London Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship Committee meeting we thought it right to seek your support in expressing concern to the Bishop of London that the venue for the visit of Bishop Gene Robinson is a London Anglican church, namely St Martin-in-the-Fields. Bishop Richard is also the patron of St Martin’s.
The following is an extract from a letter already sent to Bishop Richard by Alison Rouff.
“I understand that you have said that Bp Robinson is not to preach or preside at a Communion service at St Martin’s and that the event is to be by invitation only; a private function. I must ask therefore, why should ‘Changing Attitudes’ be advertising in the Church Times?
Given that the Consecration of Bp Robinson has brought great division to the Anglican Communion I am extremely concerned as to what message his visit to the London Diocese is going to convey to our brethren who are standing firm as orthodox, faithful, Biblical Christians in the Communion. To this end I would like to suggest and ask that you might consider whether it would not be wiser for the ‘Changing Attitudes’ function to be held in a secular venue in London rather than in St Martin’s? In this way the Church would not be placed into a compromised position whilst still according people freedom of speech.”
Please would you consider writing along these lines to the Bishop of London asking, firstly, that the Bishop could write to Gene Robinson advising him not to come to London, or, failing that, might insist that the meeting is held in a secular venue. We understand that Gene Robinson has previously given an assurance that he would not go to a different jurisdiction other than his own at present (in light of the current situation).
We are greatly concerned that the visit of Gene Robinson will further damage relations between the Church of England and those Anglican Provinces staying faithful to the authority of Scripture and the Catholic Creeds. Because St Martin’s is hosting the event, it will be seen by those in African and Asian Dioceses that ‘we’ in London are content (and perhaps welcoming the visit), and so will cause further misunderstanding and upset.
Please also consider sending a copy of your letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, so that he too is aware of the great concerns that we have over this flouting of the agreed statement (Lambeth 1:10) and the further erosion of the authority of Scripture.
Finally, please be aware of the potentially explosive nature of this letter (in terms of it attracting the wrong sort of press attention), and great discretion would be appreciated. Many thanks.
Yours in His service,
Alison L Ruoff (Lay Chairman)
Will Donaldson (Acting Clergy Chairman)
Richard Bewes (Former Chairman of CEEC)