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It's time for more enlightenment
An open letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams from the leaders of the Metropolitan Community Church in the United Kingdom.
Archbishop Rowan Williams
As leaders of the Metropolitan Community Church in the United Kingdom, we wish to publicly voice our dismay at the legal advice which has been given to the Church of England regarding the possibility of openly gay men being consecrated as bishops.
We understand that the legal advice suggests that there should be no bar, per se, to gay men serving as bishops provided that they repent of any same sex activity before they entered the priesthood, have lived by the requirement to be celibate since ordination and promise to continue to be celibate.
We feel that the spectacle of the Church of England trying to avoid complying with the law is unedifying and betrays a deep unease about the wonderful diversity of human sexuality.
We note that heterosexual candidates for bishoprics are not asked to repent of any sexual activity with which the Crown Appointments Commission may be uncomfortable.
We also note that Jeffrey John, an outstanding priest and leader of the Church of England, has publicly stated he remains celibate out of fidelity to your church’s teaching yet he was still blocked from preferment. Even when we keep your rules, we’re still discriminated against.
We also think the policy of requiring celibacy will simply make the Church of England look even more ridiculous and open yourselves up to the most dreadful kind of casuistry as people wonder what, exactly celibacy requires.
The failure of the Church of England to embrace the reality of the diversity of human sexuality repels people from the wider Church as we are all deemed to be intolerant.
We are an lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)-led church, yet we talk far more about mission than we do about sexuality. We commend this approach to you.
In an age where many people are ‘spiritual but not religious’, where society is increasingly open to lesbian and gay people and where there is great hunger for authentic spirituality, it is sad to see the energy and resources of the Church of England be used to avoid the provisions of the Equalities Act.
THE REVERERENDS Andy Braunston, Kieren Bourne, Jane Clarke, Catherine Dearlove, Chris Dowd, Debbie Gaston, Sharon Ferguson, Dwayne Morgan, Maxwell Reay and Ruth Scott