In response to the group of 72

The letter from the group of 72 to the College of Bishops makes interesting reading. The letter can be read in full on the Thinking Anglicans website:  The signatories suggest that the Church of En…

Source: In response to the group of 72


While on holiday in Cairns, Australia, with my wife, Diana, taking refuge from the wintry South Island of New Zealand (the temp in N.Z. – last heard of –  was minus 4.C., while here we rejoice in an average of +25.C) though still keeping in touch with goings on in the Anglican blogosphere around the world; I had decided to take a break from full-time blogging on ‘kiwianglo’.

However, the latest news from the Church of England – that a group of 72 members of its General Synod have written to the House of Bishops, begging them not to move any further with legislation that would allow more liberal parishes to provide pastoral amenities for the Celebration of Same-Sex Unions – has stirred me into action. I am, therefore, spending an hour or two analysing the reports and projecting my own thoughts about the situation:

This eruption of an orchestrated letter of opposition to any forward-looking action being taken by the C.of E. House of Bishops seems counter-productive to any positive outcome from the much-heralded ‘Conversations’ on human sexuality that have now come to a close.

The veiled threat of a possible schism – if the bishops do not do as the 72 signatories have advised – must not be overlooked. The presence of a group calling itself AMiE (Anglican Mission in England) already threatens the authority of the State Church – on more or less identical grounds with those postulated by the ’72’ in their letter of protest.

One wonders why, in fact, these 72 people – who obviously feel that the Church should not be allowed to be hospitable to those who wish to publicly celebrate and acknowledge their monogamously faithful same-sex relationships in their own congregational settings – do not simply and quietly join up with AMiE; the foreign outreach, in England, of the dissident GAFCON sodality which has its own House of Bishops and jurisdictional provenance – separate from the rest of Anglicans in other situations around the world.

The grounds on which these protesters base their homophobia and sexism are a few passages of Scripture that are taken out of context and can hardly be applied to the exigencies of our modern world-view. Jesus took great pains to disabuse those Scribes and Pharisees who held sexuality to be the primary battleground for pastoral recrimination. Similarly, if Jesus were around today, perhaps He would be advising the bishops of the Church to be a little less judgemental of people who are doing their very best to deal with the circumstances of the sexuality that has been dealt to them – not by any fault of their own , but because of the infinite diversity of God’s creation.

After all, even Saint Paul said “It is better to marry than burn”. Was that only for heterosexual couples, I wonder?

One wonders whatever happened to the explicitly Dominical Sciptures that descibe the eirenic ministry of Jesus, the Son of God himself, who said “They will know you’re my disciples by your love” – not by your pharisaical judgmentalism.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

(temporarily in Cairns, Australia)

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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