Showing posts with label Anglican Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anglican Church. Show all posts

June 9, 2017

Scottish Episcopal Church Comes Out For Gay Marriage

The Scottish Episcopal Church has voted to allow gay couples to marry in church.
It makes it the first major Christian church in the UK to allow same-sex marriages.
The vote to amend canon law on marriage, removing the stipulation that it is between a man and a woman, was carried by the Synod in Edinburgh.
It means that gay Christians from any Anglican Church can now ask to be married in a Scottish Episcopal Church.
Clergy who wish to officiate at gay marriages will have to "opt-in".
The church said this meant that those who disagreed with gay marriage would be protected and not have to act against their conscience.
The Episcopal Church's Bishop of Edinburgh, The Right Reverend Dr John Armes, said: "I am very pleased for the couples who can now have their relationships recognised by the church and blessed by God.
"I'm also pleased for what this means about our church and the way we have been able to do this. But obviously any change like this creates pain and hurt in some as well, so as a bishop of the church I feel for them."

Passionate debate

The vote to allow same-sex marriage - which required the backing of at least two thirds of each house of Bishops, Clergy and Laity - has left the church at odds with most of the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
A group of global Anglican traditionalists have now announced that they will appoint a missionary bishop "to serve the needs of those who oppose gay marriage". 
A senior figure in the group, Archbishop Foley Beach, said: "Today's decision by the Scottish Episcopal Church to change the biblical and historic definition of marriage has highlighted the need to respond to the cries and pleas of those Scots who today have been marginalised by their leaders.
"The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support."
At last year's Synod, members of the Church agreed to send the issue for discussion to its seven dioceses.
Six of them voted in favour of amending the law. Only Aberdeen and Orkney voted against the proposal.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
 Image copyrightGETTY                    

Image captionThe Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is the Anglican Communion's spiritual head

Analysis by BBC Scotland correspondent John McManus

This vote to change canon law, opening marriage to same sex couples, isn't just the latest skirmish in the religious war between traditionalist Christians and those of a more liberal leaning.
It will have profound consequences, because the issue of gay relationships has become a touchstone for those who believe that the Anglican Church has lost its way, and needs to be renewed.
Many Christians who live in the global south, where the 80-plus million Anglican Communion is at its strongest, look with horror at what they see as moves to legitimise gay relationships and lifestyles.

'Ignoring the will of God'

They not only disapprove of those lifestyles, but they see moves such as the ordination of gay clergy as evidence that the church is ignoring the will of God.
The head of the Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury and he's come under enormous pressure from bishops in Africa and Asia to stand firm on this issue.
Those bishops are growing in influence and have formed an organisation - Gafcon - which is directly challenging the more liberal Christians of the global north.
They will be emboldened by this vote, even if they disapprove of it - and it may hasten a split in the communion, with power moving south to the churches of Africa.

Same sex marriage became legal in Scotland at the end of 2014 but the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church opposed the move.
The issue has provoked passionate debate within the Anglican Communion. 
In January last year, the communion sanctioned the US Episcopal Churchwhen it decided to allow gay marriage in church. 
However, last month the Church of Scotland voted to approve a report which could allow ministers to conduct same-sex weddings in the future. 
And in February, a report opposing gay marriage was opposed by the Church of England's Synod.

'Departure from faith'

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion described the Episcopal Church's decision as "a departure from the faith and teaching upheld by the overwhelming majority of Anglican provinces on the doctrine of marriage".
Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon said: "The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make their own decisions on canon law. The Scottish Episcopal Church is one of 38, soon to be 39, provinces covering more than 165 countries around the world. 
"As Secretary General, I want the churches within the Anglican Communion to remain committed to walking together in the love of Christ and to working out how we can maintain our unity and uphold the value of every individual in spite of deeply-held differences. It is important to stress the Communion's strong opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTIQ+ people.
"The primates of the Communion will be meeting in Canterbury in October. I am sure today's decision will be among the topics which will be prayerfully discussed. There will be no formal response to the SEC's vote until the primates have met." 

'Really positive message'

The equality campaign group Stonewall Scotland said it was "delighted" with the outcome of the vote.
The groups's director Colin Macfarlane said: "This step allows couples to celebrate their love within their faith and sends a really positive message to other LGBT people, both here and around the world.
"It signals that members of the church welcome, recognise and respect LGBT people as part of the faith community."
The Student Christian Movement UK said: "We hope this is a watershed for LGBT inclusion in UK churches.
"Our prayers go out to all LGBT Christians who have been hurt by the Episcopal Church, and we hope this may be a turning point for healing and reconciliation."

October 31, 2014

Anglican Bishop says 1 in 10 Bishops is Gay yet the Church still fights Gay rights


A serving bishop has issued a stinging public denunciation of “duplicity and hypocrisy” in the Church of England over homosexuality – claiming that around as one in 10 of his fellow bishops could be secretly gay but unwilling to speak publicly. 
The Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, accused the current episcopate of preaching a 1950s “Janet and John” image of human relationships while adopting an “eyes wide shut” approach to homosexuality in its own ranks and the wider church. 
His remarks come in a new book published next week setting out what he sees as the theological case for a major reassessment of the Church’s stance on sexuality. 
In comments bound to infuriate traditionalists he rejects outright the idea that the Bible forbids gay marriage insisting that the Church’s official teaching is largely based on “our grandparents’ cultural dictates” rather than the teaching of Jesus. 
Dr Wilson also dismisses a recent order banning Anglican clergy from marrying their same-sex partners as unlawful despite what he calls as its “blustering menacing tone”. 

And he hits out at a “tiny clique of reactionary activists” who he says have effectively determined the Church’s position on the issue for decades and left it, in his opinion, out of touch with ordinary people. 
“To most English people under 40 a discussion of gay bishops or same-sex marriage feels as relevant and inviting as one about women being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia,” he jokes. 
The Church of England bans its clergy from taking part in same-sex marriage but permits them to be in civil partnerships – although they must claim to be celibate if they wish to become bishops. 
But Dr Wilson effectively accuses the episcopate of applying double standards. 
The book entitled “More Perfect Union?” is the first to commit to print rumours that a significant number of the Church’s serving bishops are themselves in gay relationships. 
“Many who have publicly resisted same-sex marriage also have a dog in the fight arising from personal experience. 
“This can arise from ambivalence or guilt about ways they have handled family members who have come out as gay, as well as their own sexualities. 
“Particular attention sometimes falls on one vulnerable group with especially complex needs – gay Church of England bishops.” 
Without naming any of his colleagues, he adds: “By 2014 there were said to be a dozen or so gay bishops. 
“By definition, these men are outstanding priests who have managed to navigate the complexities of a structurally homophobic institution well enough to become its iconic representatives. 
“They may well have a bigger investment than others in keeping the closet door tightly shut.” 
He goes on: “They have more on the line than some others. 
“They also have greater status and security, but some of them may end up among the last people able to understand the need for change and bring it about. 
“This can be expected to be the case especially for gay evangelical bishops, with their historically less well developed networks and support systems.” 
He goes on to single out the treatment of Dr Jeffery John, the openly gay but celibate cleric who was forced to stand aside from becoming a bishop because of his sexuality, as a turning point which helped “draw the bars firmly back across the inside of the episcopal closet door”. 
And he describes the tenure of Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, as a disappointment for those supporting a more liberal stance. 
“It was hoped his learning and leadership would enable the Church to make the same kind of forward progress as other English public institutions at the time – unfortunately, the institution ate the man for breakfast,” he writes. 
Last night Dr Wilson said was preparing for a furious response from many in the church, in keeping with the reaction to previous remarks on his blog about the subject. 
“Initially you get an angry, hysterical response but it’s a bit like a baby burping up its dinner – once that’s gone there’s not much left and you can then have a reasonable discussion. 
“I think I’ll get a range of responses – my favourite response to something I put on my blog was a bishop who said ‘of course I agree with the more progressive things you say but if I said that I would be crucified’. 
“The answer to that, of course, is ‘well other people have been – it’s an occupational hazard.” 
He added: “We are in a muddle and we really do need to engage with the problem for the sake of everyone. 
“Jesus didn’t say anything about being gay, he did say an enormous amount about the professional guardians of the sacred who take themselves too seriously. 
“I think we need to take note of that really.”

July 26, 2014

Threatens to Out Anglican Bishops if Gay Clergy is discipline


This story was picked up by the Independent in the UK:

Peter Tatchell has put together a list of Anglican bishops he believes are in same-sex relationships and is threatening to out them publicly if they discipline homosexual clergy for marrying their partners.

The warning comes after hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton had his license to preach revoked last month by the acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham Richard Inwood after marrying his partner Laurence Cunningham earlier this year.
Mr Tatchell’s decision to compile a dossier of evidence echoes the tactic his campaign group OutRage! carried out 20 years ago when it exposed 10 Anglican bishops as being gay at the 1994 General Synod. He said his aim now, as it was then, is “self-defence” and that he wants to expose church hypocrisy and defend the homosexual community against bishops who endorse anti-gay discrimination.
Although he has not decided whether to reveal his evidence, the veteran campaigner is preparing the groundwork.
“There are names on the list already,” Mr Tatchell told The Independent  on Friday.
“We’re still doing the research. People are sending us information which we still have to verify. This is in response to anger from people in the Church of England, and in particular to the Bishop of Southwell’s harsh decision. We are looking at the possibility of outing gay bishops who abuse their power to harm gay clergy and the wider gay community. There is no question of outing bishops who want to keep their sexuality private.”
Andrew Cain became the second priest to defy the Church of England by marrying his same-sex partner last month. Father Cain, vicar of St Mary's with All Souls in Kilburn, London, posted pictures of his wedding to Stephen Foreshew on Facebook.
He said he “fully expects” action to be taken against him following his decision.
Fr Cain told The Independent: “I am unsure that outing is ever helpful. Though if a bishop is living a double life, pretending or hiding their sex I would far rather see the gay bishops admit their sexuality. If there is truly no homophobia in the Church and they are abiding by their own rules - why are they scared?
“My suspicion is and all the evidence seems to suggest that I am right that the church is deeply homophobic and that the gay bishops know this as well as the straight bishops. If I am wrong then I would ask the gay bishops to come out and show the LGBT community that I am wrong.”
Canon Pemberton declined to comment. Labour councillor and prospective parliamentary candidate Wes Streeting, who has worked for Stonewall, attacked the veteran campaigner.
He said: “That’s not the right approach. It’s not necessarily hypocritical. One can be gay and not support same sex marriage.”
Mr Tatchell said in response: “If a gay bishop in a same sex relationship supports discrimination and discipline against gay clergy, his actions are homophobic and he deserves to be exposed. They have put themselves in the firing line.”
Debate over gay bishops has raged in the Church of England for 30 years. Jeffrey John, who had been in a long-term relationship with a male priest, was chosen to be Bishop of Reading in 2003. Despite stating that he was celibate he withdrew his appointment following the surrounding controversy and became Dean of St Albans Cathedral where he remains.
Last year the House of Bishops approved plans to allow gay men to become appointed as bishops if they were celibate, including those such as the Very Rev John who are in civil partnerships. It banned gay clergy from marrying in February despite the Government passing the same sex marriage law.
Mr Tatchell revealed that he was compiling evidence to the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow.
Referring to more possible outings of gay bishops the veteran campaigner said: “I believe people have a right to privacy so long as they are not using their own power and authority to harm other people and when other people are being caused harm and suffering we have a duty to try and stop it.
"If this is the only way, it is certainly not the preferable way, it’s not the first option but as a last resort I think it is morally and ethically justifiable.”
Rev Holdsworth supports the move. In a blog post he wrote: “It seems to me that it is perfectly legitimate for anyone with concrete evidence of a bishop who has supported an anti-gay policy such as the recent pastoral statement in the Church of England and who is in a same-sex partnership, to draw attention to that hypocrisy in public.”

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