A leader in today’s Times newspaper takes Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali to task for comments made prior to the launch of FCAUK. (We have yet another acronym to add to FCA or FoCA).
Changing Attitude took to task the group of bishops supporting yesterday’s launch back in September 2008 when Blackburn, Chester, Chichester, Exeter, Rochester and Winchester wrote in support of Bishop Bob Duncan in the USA. Chris Green, Vice Principal of Oak Hill, wrote asking CA to support Bishop Duncan, copying his letter to the bishops.
I replied declining to write to Bob Duncan and said: “The support given to Bishop Duncan by seven of our bishops is very worrying. By the stance they are taking, and from the comments made by some of them, they are contemplating taking similar action to Bishop Duncan. Their stance is a threat to the leadership of Archbishop Rowan, to the integrity of the Church of England and is also a rejection of the Windsor process.”
Today’s Times leader says that Michael Nazir-Ali is willing to provoke splits and risk schism within the Anglican Communion and has now signalled insubordination to the authority of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Bishops of Exeter and Winchester emailed me in anger last September, Exeter saying there was absolutely no reason to assume that any of them were contemplating or would desire the kind of action about which I speculated. Yet at the time, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said a new Province was needed in England and all six bishops either attended or send messages of support yesterday.
The Bishop of Rochester thinks homosexuals should “repent and be changed.” The Times says he has “inflamed an issue on which social attitudes have changed radically for the better within a generation.”
I have yet to hear any of the other five bishops publicly disown the stance taken by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, either in his comment about needing a new Province or in his attitude to lesbian and gay people which is doing so much damage to ability of the Church of England to evangelise in England.
Conservatives will claim that theirs are the growing churches and I value their gift in being able to attract new people. At the same time they are doing immense damage to the majority of congregations and are one of the reasons people are turning away from the Church of England. They attract the like-minded. They are not attractive to people who value the reforms enacted by this government to enhance the status of LGBT people. The majority despair of a church which seems so obsessively prejudiced where conservatives repeatedly link homosexuality with pederasty and bestiality. The majority know this is an infantile, deliberately abusive prejudice.
The Church of England should be proclaiming a welcome to LGBT people, affirming our love and fidelity. Instead, FCAUK grabs all the media attention and is seen as the voice of the CofE. The Church of England needs to be proclaiming a gospel of radical love, justice and inclusion to this country.