The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, has refused to ban the American gay Bishop Gene Robinson from attending a Church of England service.

The Bishop of London’s refusal comes after a letter was sent to him by the London Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship, urging the Bishop to try an ban the gay cleric from visiting London or attending any church services in England.

The letter was signed by; Alison Ruoff, a lay Church of England Synod member, the Rev Will Donaldson, a vicar in West Ealing, and Richard Bewes, a former chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council.

It states, “We are greatly concerned that the visit … will further damage relations between the Church of England and those Anglican provinces staying faithful to the authority of scripture … 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 so will cause further misunderstanding and upset…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.”

The Bishop’s spokesman told the Guardian that, “He is not in the business of curtailing free speech in London. Bishop Robinson will not be allowed to take part in the service, or to preach, but he will address the congregation when the service is over.”

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