Church of England bishops urged to ‘unequivocally’ welcome all LGBT Christians
A letter from the Christian synod calls for “greater clarity and consistency” on the issue.
Over 130 – one in three – lay and clergy members of the governing body of the Church of England have appealed to bishops to recognise and welcome LGBT Christians.
In an open letter sent to bishops before their meeting to discuss sexuality later this month, synod members call for “greater clarity and consistency” in the church’s approach to the LGBT community.
“In particular, we are keen that the College of Bishops is unequivocal in its acknowledgement that all, including those who identify as LGBTI, are essential to the health and future of our church and mission to the wider world,” the letter says.
This letter also urges bishops to “help lead us forward” with a “sense of urgency and sensitivity”.
Jayne Ozanne – a gay synod member from who helped organise the letter – said the response had been overwhelming.
“It definitely seems that the tide is now finally turning,” she said.
“From conversations I have had it would appear that many synod members were deeply challenged and moved by the [internal] discussions in July,” she added.
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“It seems that there is a growing consensus for the church to take active steps towards ensuring it is welcoming and inclusive of all.”
Bishops will meet on Monday to decide how the church should address the heated issue, following two years of intense debate – although a C of E spokesperson said no final decisions were expected to be made.
The meeting comes after The Bishop of Grantham, Nicholas Chamberlain, become the first Church of England bishop to come out as being in a same-sex relationship.
Following Chamberlain’s announcement, fourteen other clergy members revealed they had married their same-sex partners in defiance of church rules.
Meanwhile, evangelicals within the Church have threatened a split if the policy is relaxed.
The Church of England remains opposed to same-sex weddings – meaning that clergy cannot carry out services or ‘blessings’ for same-sex couples, and gay members of the clergy are punished for getting married themselves.