CofE missing the point

The Coalition has issued this comment on the official Church of England response to the Government consultation on Equal Civil Marriage:

The official Church of England response to the Government misses the key point. For many same-sex couples, equal marriage is not about legal rights, but a recognition that marriage offers something more – that marriage embraces something deeply spiritual which strengthens both the couple and society. In failing to recognise this, the Church of England has impoverished its own teaching on marriage.

As the recent letter to The Times by senior Church of England clergy noted, “The Church calls marriage holy or sacramental because the covenant relationship of faithful committed love between the couple reflects the covenanted love and commitment between God and his Church… So the fact that there are same-sex couples who want to embrace marriage should be a cause for rejoicing in the Christian Church.”

The widespread criticism of the statement from within the Church of England that has followed its publication reflects the scandalous lack of consultation in its preparation. There has been no discussion in the General Synod, or in the dioceses, and needless to say LGB&T members of the Church as represented by our Coalition partners, were also excluded from those discussions.

Press Release [PDF].

Report on the act of witness

Talk with us not about us!

An act of witness took place at General Synod on Thursday 9 February to draw attention to the extent to which the Church of England relies on the many hundreds of LGB&T clergy who minister faithfully across the Church of England despite the institutional prejudice and suspicion they often face. Over 40 members and supporters of the LGB&T Anglican Coalition greeted synod members as they entered Church House Westminster.

The Coalition has calculated that there are at least 1,500 LGB&T licensed clergy currently ministering in parishes, hospitals, diocesan offices and other ministries – over 13% of the total…

Press Release [PDF].
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Racial abuse and the Archbishop of York

Following news reports that John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has received racist emails after his recent interview, in which he opposed the Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, we wish to make it clear that the Coalition stands against all forms of prejudice including racism. We totally condemn all such acts.

We believe that prejudice in any form can only be opposed by creating an environment of openness, listening and mutual respect, and it is in this spirit that we approach all of our discussions in the ongoing debate.

Silent act of witness

Talk with us not about us!

An Act of Witness will take place at General Synod on Thursday 9 February to draw attention to the many hundreds of LGB&T clergy who minister faithfully across the Church of England despite the institutional prejudice and suspicion they often face, and on whom the Church of England relies…

Please join us tomorrow 9 February for the act of witness, which will take place starting at 08:45 in Dean’s Yard beside Westminster Abbey:

Press Release [PDF].

There will be a silent act of witness in Dean’s Yard Westminster on Thursday 9 February 2012, organised by the Coalition, for the thousands of LGB&T clergy who minister in the Church of England despite the discrimination they often suffer.

Please do come and support us.

Publicity Flyer [PDF].

Please distribute this information as widely as possible.

There will be an Act of Witness in Dean’s Yard Westminster on Thursday 9 February – the final day of General Synod’s meetings in London.

It will be a silent act of witness for the thousands of faithful LGB&T Clergy who minister in the Church of England despite the discrimination and suspicion which they often suffer.

We will congregate in Dean’s Yard by the entrance to Church House at 08:30 on Thursday 9 February in time to welcome General Synod members as they arrive for the day’s business. There will also be an opportunity for prayer and to give leaflets out to people arriving at Church House. The act of witness will end by 10:15.

With the House of Bishops review group on Sexuality beginning its work shortly, this is an important opportunity to draw attention to the extent to which the Church of England relies on LGB&T clergy. We hope that you will be able to join us on the day.

The entrance to Dean’s Yard is through the arch next to Westminster Abbey by the Abbey Bookshop. The address is Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3NY.

For more information please contact

Map [PDF].

Bishops told to embrace civil partnerships

The time has come for a change in stance on civil partnerships is the message from pro-gay groups in the Coalition.

In its submission to the House of Bishops review group on civil partnerships, (made public today) the Coalition calls on the Church of England to allow churches to register civil partnerships, authorise services of thanksgiving and dedication, and end the ban on bishops in civil partnerships.

With over 47,000 civil partnerships registered by the end of 2010, the submission notes that “as social attitudes towards those in same-sex relationships have become increasingly open and accepting, the Church of England is becoming increasingly isolated. This is in turn damaging both our mission and our ability to provide pastoral care to those in our parishes, congregations, and clergy.” On offering civil partnerships in parish churches, the Coalition has already identified 95 churches who want to press ahead but General Synod would need to approve the application. Although negative statements have been made by the Church of England’s Press Office…

Press Release [PDF].
Coalition submission to the House of Bishops’ review group on civil partnerships [PDF].

95 churches want to register civil partnerships

A limited survey by the Coalition has already revealed that almost 100 Church of England churches would want to explore registering their buildings to offer Civil Partnerships – if the Church of England would allow it.

This comes as registration forms for religious buildings become available for the first time this month following the end of the Government ban in December.
The news that so many Anglican Churches would want to explore registration shows the disparity between the official stance of the Church of England and that of ordinary parishes.

Press Release [PDF].

The Coalition offers assistance in sexuality reviews

The Coalition has written to the House of Bishops to offer its help in the forthcoming reviews on sexuality and the church.

Following his announcement of reviews on Civil Partnerships and Guidelines on Human Sexuality by the Bishop of Norwich, the LGB&T Anglican Coalition has written to the Rt Rev Graham James welcoming the reviews, and offering to meet with him in the near future.

The letter states, “We are sure that you will want to consult widely in the review process, and would like to offer our services at an early stage. We hope you will welcome this offer to meet a small team representing the Coalition to discuss how our members can contribute to this work.”

This offer stands in sharp contrast to claims made by Anglican Mainstream that such discussions have already been taking place during the past year… Neither the Coalition nor any of its member groups have yet been invited to take part in conversations of this kind…

Full Statement [PDF].

Archbishop condemns murders of Ugandan gay human rights activist

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisule in Uganda:

“The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends – and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities.”

Archbishop’s Press Release and background information [PDF].

Time to accept gay bishops

In a recent interview with The Times Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, was unclear whether celibate but partnered gay clergy are acceptable as bishops in the Church of England. The archbishop 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.’ … …to the many lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people who have been called to ordained ministry but not to celibacy’. The Coalition calls the Church of England to a renewed study of sexuality in the light of modern scientific and theological understanding…

Press Release [PDF].

Southwark failure damages Church of England

Both recent meetings of the Crown Nominations Commission to choose a new bishop for the Diocese of Southwark have been the subject of serious leaks to a newspaper. This has resulted in huge personal pain and distress for one candidate, Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, for the second time in seven years. It is particularly outrageous that some senior church officials have suggested the leaks were engineered by supporters of Jeffrey, rather than by those opposed to his nomination.

Press Release [PDF].