The Coalition welcomes the appointment of Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. In his press conference last Friday he said this about sexuality:
“We also face deep differences over the issue of sexuality. It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people co-habiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships. We must have no truck with any form of homophobia, in any part of the church. The Church of England is part of the worldwide church, with all the responsibilities that come from those links. What the church does here deeply affects the already greatly suffering churches in places like northern Nigeria, which I know well. I support the House of Bishops’ statement in the summer in answer to the government’s consultation on same sex marriage. I know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities, and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully. I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed honestly and in love.”
We are grateful for Bishop Justin’s openness. We appreciate his commitment to engage in listening to LGB&T communities and to challenge homophobia throughout the church. We look forward to dialogue with him as he seeks the way forward for mission and ministry in the Church of England.