Colin Coward of The Changing Attitude is angry and he says a tipping point has been reached. The language of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his letter after General Convention and Bishop N.T. Wright's words have (as we have reported earlier) stirred up anger in the The Church of England.
I am angry. Angry because of the language used. The Archbishop referred to ‘chosen lifestyle’ and Durham to ‘non-celibate homosexuals’, ‘homosexual instincts’ and ‘certain habits and styles of life’, language which I find provocative and offensive. Trying to be charitable, I can only assume the Archbishop’s paper was drafted by a member of staff whose natural instinct is to ally with the GAFCON/FOCA/ACNA axis and the Archbishop let the phrase stand.
I’m angry because of the disgraceful dishonesty which infects the Church of England. It is almost tedious to remind the church, bishops and archbishops included, that every diocese includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parishioners and priests, something they know (or should know) perfectly well. How dare they write as if LGBT people don’t exist here and are only present (problematically) in the North American Churches?
We are no longer invisible and neither are our partners. We LGBT Anglicans are present in General Synod, the House of Bishops and bishop’s staff meetings. Bishops lay hands on us and give us communion, appoint us, counsel us, take advice from us, anoint, heal and forgive us. How dare they write as if we don’t exist and are not fully present throughout the Church? We are a gift from God to the Church.
A local rector in Romford, Father John-Francis Friendship, of St Andrew's Church, wrote a "furious" letter and a Facebook petition that attracted 140 signatures.
Fr John-Francis Friendship... who is in a civil partnership, hit back that he was deeply concerned by the tone and content of Dr Williams' suggestions - which he believes leaves homosexuals out in the cold.
He wrote: "We are called to become the church God wants us to be...we find no indication of how that can be for those who are not heterosexual.
"We urge you not to negate that prophetic, inclusive voice we believe you have in the past expressed".
We are not campaigning for schism or exclusion but for the Gospel of Jesus Christ which we live and proclaim and the God we love and worship. We have been too patient, too tolerant, too generous and understanding towards those who judge us unfairly. This month, the tipping point was reached. Our campaign for equality will become more vigorous and our defence of classic, Anglican, Christian values more assertive. Changing Attitude with our partner groups in the Rainbow Alliance are standing firm in the mainstream of Anglicanism.