New ‘Bp to the Abps’ is anti-LGBT+-Inclusion in the C.of E.

Colin CowardApril 22, 2021

On Monday it was announced that the Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson, currently Bishop of Penrith, is to be the new Bishop to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Bishop Emma will work directly for the Archbishops and with the whole College of Bishops. She will play a key role in work being done on the future of the Church of England, appointments and liaising with the House of Bishops. She will also have specific oversight of the programme for the 2022 Lambeth Conference, playing a crucial role as chair of the conference’s working group since last year. She will work with the Archbishops on the role and nature of bishops meetings and the priorities they face.

In October 2016 Revd Dr Emma Ineson, then Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, was one of eighty nine evangelicals from the whole range of the evangelical constituency, ‘open’, ‘charismatic’ and ‘conservative’ evangelicals who sent a letter to all members of the College of Bishops prior to their next meeting when they were to decide what proposals to bring to General Synod in February.

Ian Paul published the letter with their permission on Psephizo. The letter said the Church of England is at a crossroads, the presenting issue being that of human sexuality, in particular whether or not the Church is able to affirm sexual relationships beyond opposite sex marriage.

“The Bible is clear that God has given the marriage of one man with one woman as the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality.

“Any change in the Church’s teaching or practice – such as the introduction of provisions that celebrate or bless sexual relationships outside of a marriage between one man and one woman – would represent a significant departure from our apostolic inheritance and the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine. It would also, inevitably, be a further step on a trajectory towards the full acceptance of same-sex sexual partnerships as equivalent to male-female marriage.

“The gift of male and female sexual differentiation, and its unique and fundamental mutuality, is part of God’s good creation and a mirror to His own nature.

“What is at stake goes far beyond the immediate pastoral challenges of human bisexual and same-sex sexual behaviour: it is a choice between alternative and radically different visions of what it means to be human, to honour God in our bodies, and to order our lives in line with God’s holy will.

“Any further changes to practice or doctrine in these important areas will set the Church on a path of fundamental disunity. It would cause a break not only with the majority of the Anglican Communion, but with the consistent mind of the worldwide Church down many centuries. It will trigger a process of division and fragmentation among faithful Anglicans in England.”

Bishop Emma is clearly opposed to the full inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in the Church of England. Her appointment to this new and extremely powerful and influential post as bishop to the Archbishops is of great concern for those of us actively working for that to which she is opposed.

Unless she has changed her mind since signing the letter in 2016 Bishop Emma Ineson is opposed to the celebration or blessing of sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage and to the full acceptance of same-sex sexual partnerships as equivalent to male-female marriage.

As a signatory of the letter, she foresees any changes towards the full and equal inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people as leading to the breakdown of the Anglican Communion and trigger a process of division and fragmentation in the Church of England.

Where does her appointment leave the Archbishops’ commitment to a new radical inclusion? Bishop Emma will be in a powerful position, able to influence the outcome of the Living in Love and Faith process and whatever outcomes are presented to General Synod in November 2022. She also has huge influence over the content and culture of the next Lambeth Conference, aligning herself with those forces opposed to LGBTIQ+ equality and supporting the decision already taken to exclude same sex spouses from the programme.

Changing Attitude England’s campaign for the full inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people in ministry and relationships in the Church of England is only just beginning. We are campaigning for a changed attitude in the House of Bishops which alone will result in the radical inclusion to which Archbishop Justin and retired Archbishop Sentamu were committed and to which, we hope, Archbishop Stephen is also fully committed. There is either going to be a collision of cultures between the new bishop to the Archbishops and the Archbishops, or a collision between those groups campaigning for radical inclusion and the House of Bishops and their proposals resulting from Living in Love and Faith.

To campaign with us, join Changing Attitude England’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/788874575387173

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This small paragraph in Colin Coward’s article about the new appointment in the Church of England says everything about its moral and spiritual implications:

“As a signatory of the letter, she (the Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson, currently Bishop of Penrith) foresees any changes towards the full and equal inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people as leading to the breakdown of the Anglican Communion and trigger a process of division and fragmentation in the Church of England.”

As Principal of Trinity College, Bristol (before her consecration as a bishop) Dr. Emma Ineson was a signatory to a letter by ‘a group of conservative Evangelicals’ in 2016, to the House of Bishops, containing the following paragraph:

“The Bible is clear that God has given the marriage of one man with one woman as the only context in which physical expression is to be given to our sexuality.

Having read the rest of this letter, shown in the above article, one could be forgiven if one thought that the appointment of this particular bishop in the Church of England was an attempt by the Establishment to secure a more conservative, anti-LGBT+contingency in the C. of E. House of Bishops. Now that she has been appointed to this new prestigious and powerful position – as ‘Bishop to the Archbishops’ – this fear is more a of a reality.

As a direct consequence of this appointment; the LGBT+ people in the Church of England who had high hopes of their Church becoming less sexist and homophobic through the LLF (Living in Love and Faith” process to be debated at the next General Synod in 2022. Another problem looming is that of her special influence at the next Lambeth Conference.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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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