CHANGING ATTITUDE – re The House of Bishops (C.of E.)

Collusion, dishonesty, ignorance and stupidity are the marks of the House of Bishops

Changing Attitude, May 26th, 2011 12 Comments
 

 

In today’s Guardian, Andrew Brown reports that this week’s House of Bishop’s meeting in York concluded without agreement on whether gay clergy should ever be allowed to be chosen for promotion to bishoprics.

Well, this is just the most stupid, dishonest, corrupt outcome imaginable. Did not one of the gay bishops have the courage to say to his brothers, hang on, I’m gay? Did not one of their friends in the House have the courage to say to the gathering, hang on, some of you may not know who among us is gay, but I have several good friends in this room who are gay?

I feel so angry that it’s hard to know where to begin. There are some bishops who are naive, ignorant, and plain stupid, because they are still unaware that the Church of England ordains gay men as bishops, and some of the ‘conservative, Bible-based’ bishops will have laid hands on these men and assisted in their ordination.

There are other bishops whom I have come to know well, supporters and friends of Changing Attitude, who by their silence at the meeting are colluding with the prejudiced, ignorant mind-set of conservatives, betraying their friends who are gay in the House of Bishops and abandoning the truth and their own integrity.

As for +Rowan and +Sentamu …. well, if +Rowan really did shout and lose his temper at last year’s Southwark meeting, leaving several members of the crown nomination committee in tears, then I hope it shows that +Rowan himself is finding the utter dishonesty and false secrecy impossible to handle.

Someone has leaked what Andrew Brown describes as ‘an anguished and devastating memorandum’ written by the Very Rev Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark Cathedral before his untimely death from pancreatic cancer. Colin, a good friend of Changing Attitude and totally committed to the integrity of LGBT people in the church, charges the church with hypocrisy, stating that there are several gay bishops “who have been less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions”. He warns: “This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear.”

I could name a number of bishops who are gay, including several appointed in the last 12 months. I’m sitting here this morning wondering whether I should, knowing that to do so is not in accord with my Christian ethos.

The hierarchy of the Church of England are corrupting Christian truth and faith and integrity by allowing themselves to be manipulated and controlled by conservative evangelical and catholic forces and opinions which, the longer they are not confronted, will tear the Anglican Communion apart, not over gay clergy, but because lives are being destroyed for the sake of false belief.

The nuclear button has been hit, and the integrity and fidelity to God of every member of the House of Bishops and especially of both Archbishops, is now on the line.

Article by Fr. Colin Coward, ‘Changing Attitude’

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“The hierarchy of the Church of England are corrupting Christian truth and faith and integrity by allowing themselves to be manipulated and controlled by conservative evangelical and catholic forces and opinions which, the longer they are not confronted, will tear the Anglican Communion apart, not over gay clergy, but because lives are being destroyed for the sake of false belief.”  – Colin Coward – ‘Changing Attitude’ -

This strong statement by Colin Coward – priest of the Church of England and Head of the LGBT-friendly organisation ‘Changing Attitude’ – highlights the dis-ease felt by gay and lesbian people in the Church of England at the revelation of behind-the-scenes manipulation of  opinion at a meeting designed to discuss the election of the new Bishop of Southwark.
As Dean of Southwark, the late Canon Colin Slee (a former candidate for the episcopate in Christchurch, New Zealand) was privy to the situation which he has described – in a memo he wrote about the process of selection – as disturbing, to say the least.
Colin Coward’s take on that behaviour – especially from the two Archbishops present in the meeting – was that it revealed a code of conduct unbefitting of the pastoral expectation of leaders of the Church of England. What should disturb the many people in the Church who believe that the LGBT community are part and parcel of the Church’s embodiment is that both Canterbury and York displayed a dogmatic intemperance in the situation that was the cause of tears and consternation on the part of some of the participants in the discussions.
This is not the first time the Provincial Archbishops on the C.of E. have colluded to bring their influence to bear on a situation which seems to be going in a direction they may not have approved of. The first was in relation to the General Synod vote of the acceptability of Women Bishops in the C.of E. That occasion was seen to be somewhat manipulative in favour of special provisions for the anti-women lobby. This time, it was occasioned by the prospect of the election of a male bishop who is Gay.
No wonder the Archbishop of Canterbury is in favour of the Anglican Covenant. This would allow him to dictate the terms of membership within the world-wide Communion – a prospect not welcomed by the rank and file of the Anglican Provincial Churches involved.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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