Anglicans ask Archbishop Williams to back LGBT ministry

By staff writers
15 Oct 2010

A network of Anglican groups, three of them evangelical, has issued an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the role and ministry of gay people in the church.

The LGBT Anglican Coalition is responding to a recent interview with The Times newspaper, in which the Archbishop was unclear whether celibate but partnered gay clergy are acceptable as bishops in the Church of England.

Dr Williams stated his unwillingness to consider partnered gay men and lesbians as bishops because of their "particular choice of life, a partnership, and what the Church has to say about that."

The Coalition of eight networks within the Anglican Church argues on spiritual and pastoral grounds that acceptance should be extended beyond those who are celibate.

It is also urging the Archbishop "to promote rigorous and prayerful study of the issues involved in the light of present knowledge" - both theological and scientific.

The Coalition tells the Archbishop: "Your statement has also left ambiguity regarding those in loving life-long but celibate relationships. Such people would appear to be complying fully with the requirements of Issues in Human Sexuality and yet still seem to be excluded simply on the grounds of some other people’s disapproval. If this is not your intention, we ask you to clarify what you meant.

"Given that you said that you 'have no problem' with gay bishops who are celibate, we would ask you to make clear your position on the acceptability for higher office of celibate gay clergy who are in civil partnerships."

In its letter to Dr Williams, the Coalition criticises his remarks as "hurtful and undermining to the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people who have been called to ordained ministry but not to celibacy".

The letter is also highly critical of the culture of secrecy, fear and dishonesty around human sexuality which it says is blighting the Church of England and damaging its witness to society, and which urgently needs to be dispelled.

It says that, "in numerous Church of England parishes, worshippers fully accept LGBT people, whether single or partnered, and believe that all forms of ministry should be open to God’s children regardless of sexual orientation."

Read the full letter here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13331

[Ekk/3]

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