English bishop rejected in Kenya over gay row

By staff writers
May 25, 2006

English bishop rejected in Kenya over gay row

-25/05/06

The
Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford
, the Rt Revd John Gladwin has had a private tour of Kenyan churches abruptly curtailed by the
Archbishop of Kenya
, Benjamin Nzimbi, after news spread of his sympathy towards lesbian and gay people.

Bishop Gladwin was the preacher at the
Lesbian and Gay Christian Movementís
20th Anniversary Service in Southwark Cathedral ten years ago and has recently become a patron of the Anglican organisation Changing Attitude, which calls for an accepting approach to homosexuality.

He is also believed to have been in conversation with Accepting Evangelicals ñ having himself been a key player in the 1977 Anglican Evangelical Congress in Nottingham.

The Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi said in a statement that the Kenyan Church was "unable to continue with advancing the lined-up activities with the diocese of Chelmsford".

Bishop Gladwin was visiting East Africa as part of a link and process of exchange between his diocese and that of Mount Kenya. In 2005 he was forced to back out of a trip to the Caribbean because of his views.

The Rev Christopher Newlands, chaplain to Bishop Gladwin, and not part of the Kenya visit, said: "We are shocked but are trying to see what we can do to recover the planned programme and make the best possible use of their time out there.

"The group of curates with the bishop are experiencing the work of the church in Africa and are trying to build bridges between Chelmsford and four dioceses in East Africa so we are disappointed with the reaction,î he said.

Continued Mr Newlands: "I hope that we can get over this misunderstanding and make clear our determination to carry forward the Lambeth Resolutions and to learn how God is at work in all his people in England and in Kenya.î

Bishop Gladwin has been trying to meet Archbishop Nzimbi to explain what patronage of the Changing Attitude group means.

The Revd Richard Kirker, General Secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement commented: ìI have the deepest sympathy for the Bishop of Chelmsford and his curates who are experiencing in some small way the humiliation and rejection experienced by lesbian and gay people in the countries he is visiting.î

He declared: ìBishop Gladwin is sensitive to the fact that in the Church of England there are many hundreds of lesbian and gay clergy, some of them openly so, and tens of thousands of openly lesbian and gay lay Anglicans turning up to worship in English parish churches every Sunday, some with their families, partners and children. Many of these hold office in the parishes, some high office in diocesan and national Church bodies.î

Added Kirker: ìThis is not going to change because of the views of a host of bullying bishops in far flung places nor because we have the Windsor Report nor even if we ever get an Anglican Covenant, nobody, here in these islands, believes for a moment these facts on the ground will change at all.î

Archbishop Nzimbi is a leading member of Global South, a coalition of Anglican clergy in Africa which believes, against the views of a number of biblical scholars, that homosexuality is a sin prohibited by the Bible. The group is vehemently opposed to any change of attitude on the issue.

In 2003, the Kenyan archbishop announced a formal split between the Anglican Church in Kenya and the Episcopal Church of the United States over the appointment of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been seeking to encourage mutual respect between warring factions of the Anglican Communion. His expressed personal view is that the biblical and traditional commitments of the church can support a positive affirmation of faithful lesbian and gay relationships ñ but he has upheld the majority view within the church, while seeking dialogue.

Meanwhile the Kenya Church Association (KCA) and the bridge-building evangelical Anglican group Fulcrum have called for the maintenance of the Chelmsford/Mount Kenya diocesan link, in spite of the row.

Said the Rev Tim Wambunya of KCA: ìThis link has withstood the test of time and has benefited literally thousands of people in Kenya and the UK. Bishops have come and gone but the link has continued."

He added: "We do not think current disagreements with Bishop John Gladwin should be allowed to kill the enthusiasm Chelmsford Christians have for this long established link.î

The Rt Rev John Gladwin is also chair of the board of the internationally-recognised UK churches' development agency Christian Aid.

[Also on Ekklesia: Archbishop supports Gays and the Future of Anglicanism; Seeking a better way together - Oxford New Testament professor Chris Rowland says the Bible can support an affirmative approach to homosexuality; Lesbian and gay Christians warn of deepening dangers; Historic first meeting for gay Nigerian Christians; Bishop helps to launch new gay group; Church group builds bridges at gay festival; Bishop of Worcester supports gay civil partnerships; Pro-gay Anglicans say Nigerian Church 'obsessed' with gays; Cliff Richard asks the churches to go easy on gays; Poll suggests half of gay men hold religious beliefs; Tutu calls on Anglicans to accept gay bishop]

English bishop rejected in Kenya over gay row

-25/05/06

The
Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford
, the Rt Revd John Gladwin has had a private tour of Kenyan churches abruptly curtailed by the
Archbishop of Kenya
, Benjamin Nzimbi, after news spread of his sympathy towards lesbian and gay people.

Bishop Gladwin was the preacher at the
Lesbian and Gay Christian Movementís
20th Anniversary Service in Southwark Cathedral ten years ago and has recently become a patron of the Anglican organisation Changing Attitude, which calls for an accepting approach to homosexuality.

He is also believed to have been in conversation with Accepting Evangelicals ñ having himself been a key player in the 1977 Anglican Evangelical Congress in Nottingham.

The Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi said in a statement that the Kenyan Church was "unable to continue with advancing the lined-up activities with the diocese of Chelmsford".

Bishop Gladwin was visiting East Africa as part of a link and process of exchange between his diocese and that of Mount Kenya. In 2005 he was forced to back out of a trip to the Caribbean because of his views.

The Rev Christopher Newlands, chaplain to Bishop Gladwin, and not part of the Kenya visit, said: "We are shocked but are trying to see what we can do to recover the planned programme and make the best possible use of their time out there.

"The group of curates with the bishop are experiencing the work of the church in Africa and are trying to build bridges between Chelmsford and four dioceses in East Africa so we are disappointed with the reaction,î he said.

Continued Mr Newlands: "I hope that we can get over this misunderstanding and make clear our determination to carry forward the Lambeth Resolutions and to learn how God is at work in all his people in England and in Kenya.î

Bishop Gladwin has been trying to meet Archbishop Nzimbi to explain what patronage of the Changing Attitude group means.

The Revd Richard Kirker, General Secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement commented: ìI have the deepest sympathy for the Bishop of Chelmsford and his curates who are experiencing in some small way the humiliation and rejection experienced by lesbian and gay people in the countries he is visiting.î

He declared: ìBishop Gladwin is sensitive to the fact that in the Church of England there are many hundreds of lesbian and gay clergy, some of them openly so, and tens of thousands of openly lesbian and gay lay Anglicans turning up to worship in English parish churches every Sunday, some with their families, partners and children. Many of these hold office in the parishes, some high office in diocesan and national Church bodies.î

Added Kirker: ìThis is not going to change because of the views of a host of bullying bishops in far flung places nor because we have the Windsor Report nor even if we ever get an Anglican Covenant, nobody, here in these islands, believes for a moment these facts on the ground will change at all.î

Archbishop Nzimbi is a leading member of Global South, a coalition of Anglican clergy in Africa which believes, against the views of a number of biblical scholars, that homosexuality is a sin prohibited by the Bible. The group is vehemently opposed to any change of attitude on the issue.

In 2003, the Kenyan archbishop announced a formal split between the Anglican Church in Kenya and the Episcopal Church of the United States over the appointment of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been seeking to encourage mutual respect between warring factions of the Anglican Communion. His expressed personal view is that the biblical and traditional commitments of the church can support a positive affirmation of faithful lesbian and gay relationships ñ but he has upheld the majority view within the church, while seeking dialogue.

Meanwhile the Kenya Church Association (KCA) and the bridge-building evangelical Anglican group Fulcrum have called for the maintenance of the Chelmsford/Mount Kenya diocesan link, in spite of the row.

Said the Rev Tim Wambunya of KCA: ìThis link has withstood the test of time and has benefited literally thousands of people in Kenya and the UK. Bishops have come and gone but the link has continued."

He added: "We do not think current disagreements with Bishop John Gladwin should be allowed to kill the enthusiasm Chelmsford Christians have for this long established link.î

The Rt Rev John Gladwin is also chair of the board of the internationally-recognised UK churches' development agency Christian Aid.

[Also on Ekklesia: Archbishop supports Gays and the Future of Anglicanism; Seeking a better way together - Oxford New Testament professor Chris Rowland says the Bible can support an affirmative approach to homosexuality; Lesbian and gay Christians warn of deepening dangers; Historic first meeting for gay Nigerian Christians; Bishop helps to launch new gay group; Church group builds bridges at gay festival; Bishop of Worcester supports gay civil partnerships; Pro-gay Anglicans say Nigerian Church 'obsessed' with gays; Cliff Richard asks the churches to go easy on gays; Poll suggests half of gay men hold religious beliefs; Tutu calls on Anglicans to accept gay bishop]

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