Archbishop's envoy sent to quell Kenyan gay row

By staff writers
May 27, 2006

Archbishop's envoy sent to quell Kenyan gay row

-27/05/06

The Rev David Peak, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Secretary for International Development, who has been in Sudan, is going to Kenya to try to calm the escalating row over the visit to Mount Kenya of the Bishop of Chelmsford ñ whose trip was terminated by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi when his preparedness to dialogue with lesbian and gay Christians was made known.

The Rt Rev John Gladwin is chair of the UK-based international development agency, Christian Aid, which has provided financial aid to many partner organisations in Kenya over the past 40 years.

Bishop Gladwin said that he was "greatly surprised and saddened" by what had happened, because the visit was intended to be devoted to building the links between his diocese and that of Mount Kenya.

The Kenyan church announced it was ìunable to continue with advancing the lined-up activities with the diocese of Chelmsfordî when Bishop Gladwinís involvement with Changing Attitude, which seeks the inclusion of gay people in the church, was made known.

But the Kenya Church Association in the UK says it would be a tragedy if cooperation between the dioceses was abandoned over the argument.

And in the recently published book 'Other Worlds, Other Voices', Esther Mombo, Academic Dean at St Paulís United Theological College, Limuru,in Kenya expresses a very different and understanding approach to homosexuality. She is a member of the Inter-Anglican Doctrinal Commission and served on the Lambeth Commission that produced the Windsor Report.

Supporters of lesbians and gay Christians say that the treatment of Bishop Gladwin, who has a strong background on the evangelical wing of the church and who has sought to be a bridge-builder, shows that their opponents are wholly unwilling to countenance reasonable conversation.

Though condemning same-sex relationships, the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution championed by the majority of the ëGlobal Southí and by conservatives within the Communion, calls for respectful dialogue. But this aspect of the Bishopsí statement seems largely ignored by those who take an anti-gay stance.

Bishop Gladwin had hoped to deliver a sermon at Nairobi's All Saints Cathedral tomorrow, but this was vetoed by Archbishop Nzimbi. His requests to be able publicly to explain his stance were also rejected.

Changing Attitude spokesperson, the Rev Colin Coward, says that he "is saddened that we have become the reason for curtailing the programme of a long-planned and valuable visit both for Bishop John, for the curates from Chelmsford Diocese who have accompanied him and for the diocese of Mt Kenya."

But he adds that the situation allows the opportunity to correct misinformation about lesbian and gay Christians in Kenya, and to expose "abusive and ill-informed attitudes held by senior church members".

Now Mr Peak, Archbishop Rowan Williamsí envoy, hopes to restore relations between the dioceses and to find a way forward.

Dr Williams, in his role as spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, has back-peddled his personal view that traditional Christian teaching can accommodate the acceptance of faithful gay relationships, opting instead to uphold the majority view by prioritising his archiepiscopal role.

Although seeking a path of conciliation, he has been attacked by both sides of the argument for refusing to come down decisively in their favour, and he has expressed concern at the vitriolic nature of exchanges on the issue of human sexuality.

[Also on Ekklesia: US faith group opposes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage 25/05/06; English bishop rejected in Kenya over gay row 25/05/06; 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]

Archbishop's envoy sent to quell Kenyan gay row

-27/05/06

The Rev David Peak, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Secretary for International Development, who has been in Sudan, is going to Kenya to try to calm the escalating row over the visit to Mount Kenya of the Bishop of Chelmsford ñ whose trip was terminated by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi when his preparedness to dialogue with lesbian and gay Christians was made known.

The Rt Rev John Gladwin is chair of the UK-based international development agency, Christian Aid, which has provided financial aid to many partner organisations in Kenya over the past 40 years.

Bishop Gladwin said that he was "greatly surprised and saddened" by what had happened, because the visit was intended to be devoted to building the links between his diocese and that of Mount Kenya.

The Kenyan church announced it was ìunable to continue with advancing the lined-up activities with the diocese of Chelmsfordî when Bishop Gladwinís involvement with Changing Attitude, which seeks the inclusion of gay people in the church, was made known.

But the Kenya Church Association in the UK says it would be a tragedy if cooperation between the dioceses was abandoned over the argument.

And in the recently published book 'Other Worlds, Other Voices', Esther Mombo, Academic Dean at St Paulís United Theological College, Limuru,in Kenya expresses a very different and understanding approach to homosexuality. She is a member of the Inter-Anglican Doctrinal Commission and served on the Lambeth Commission that produced the Windsor Report.

Supporters of lesbians and gay Christians say that the treatment of Bishop Gladwin, who has a strong background on the evangelical wing of the church and who has sought to be a bridge-builder, shows that their opponents are wholly unwilling to countenance reasonable conversation.

Though condemning same-sex relationships, the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution championed by the majority of the ëGlobal Southí and by conservatives within the Communion, calls for respectful dialogue. But this aspect of the Bishopsí statement seems largely ignored by those who take an anti-gay stance.

Bishop Gladwin had hoped to deliver a sermon at Nairobi's All Saints Cathedral tomorrow, but this was vetoed by Archbishop Nzimbi. His requests to be able publicly to explain his stance were also rejected.

Changing Attitude spokesperson, the Rev Colin Coward, says that he "is saddened that we have become the reason for curtailing the programme of a long-planned and valuable visit both for Bishop John, for the curates from Chelmsford Diocese who have accompanied him and for the diocese of Mt Kenya."

But he adds that the situation allows the opportunity to correct misinformation about lesbian and gay Christians in Kenya, and to expose "abusive and ill-informed attitudes held by senior church members".

Now Mr Peak, Archbishop Rowan Williamsí envoy, hopes to restore relations between the dioceses and to find a way forward.

Dr Williams, in his role as spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, has back-peddled his personal view that traditional Christian teaching can accommodate the acceptance of faithful gay relationships, opting instead to uphold the majority view by prioritising his archiepiscopal role.

Although seeking a path of conciliation, he has been attacked by both sides of the argument for refusing to come down decisively in their favour, and he has expressed concern at the vitriolic nature of exchanges on the issue of human sexuality.

[Also on Ekklesia: US faith group opposes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage 25/05/06; English bishop rejected in Kenya over gay row 25/05/06; 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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