Fourteen gay members of the Church of England have signed a letter calling for greater inclusion for LGBT people within the Church.
This letter, which was sent to the College of Bishops and published in the Sunday times, called for Bishops to respect the “diversity” of beliefs within the Church. They also expressed their wish to see same-sex marriage within the Church someday.
Several of the signatories came out in the latter, alongside several other people who were already out of the closet.
The letter implores the College of Bishops to: “be bold […] to what you know to be increasingly the direction of travel, not just in our church but in many churches in this country.”
It then continues: “But many in our parishes have already made that move and it is time to respect that a diversity of theology within the Church now exists and that there is more than one understanding of what a faithful Christian may believe on these issues.”
“As you meet to discuss, we seek from you a clear lead that offers a way forward to greater inclusion that will enable those parishes that wish to do so to celebrate the love that we have found in our wives and husbands. We hope for an outcome that will enable those who wish to do so to publicly celebrate where we see God at work in the lives of our congregations without fear and in openness.”
“We will be praying for the College of Bishops as it meets this month. We appreciate the time may not yet be right for a change in the church’s official understanding of marriage, but it is time to respect that a diversity of theology within the church now exists and many in our parishes have already made the move.”
“We hope for an outcome that will enable those who wish to do so to celebrate publicly where we see God at work in the lives of our congregations without fear and in openness.”
The signing of this letter coincided with the coming out of Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain, who ended up revealing his sexuality due to threats from a third party that they would publish the news themselves.
Chamberlain said to the Guardian: “It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out. People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.”
As well as the named signatories, which you will see below, the letter was also signed by a further seven clergy couples who did not wish to be identified.
It was signed by…
Clergy: Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain and Stephen Foreshew-Cain, Rev Richard Haggis and Ricardo Goncalves, Rev Garry Lawson and Timothy H Wane, Rev Clive Larson and John Markham, Rev Paul Collier and Mr Collier, Rev Canon Jeremy Davies and Simon McEnery, Rev Geoffrey Thompson and Tony Steeles, Rev Prof Mark Cobb and Keith Arrowsmith
Laity: Jeremy Timm and Mike Brown, Ruth Wilde and Ellie Wilde, Jack Semple and Ross Griffiths, Paul Jellings and Andrew Carter, Erica Baker and Susan Strong, Karen and Samantha Bregazzi-Jones, Keith Barber and Tim Mills, Simon Dawson and David Mooney.