Jonathan Wynne-Jones’ article in the Telegraph typifies reactions to the passing of Resolutions D025 and C056. Jonathan writes that the Anglican Communion has finally split. The Episcopal Church has delivered a fatal blow to hopes for unity.
Commentators in the USA and UK claim that the Episcopal Church has chosen to walk apart. Bishops Tom Wright of Durham, Pete Broadbent of Willesden, Graham Kings of Sherborne (and Fulcrum), John Hind of Chichester and others have criticised TEC.
Each of them is deeply compromised and lacking in integrity. Perhaps those newly appointed don’t yet know the reality of life in every diocese of the Church of England (I’m trying to excuse Graham Kings who I count as a friend).
Tom Wright knows partnered gay priests in his diocese. He knows he is impotent to discipline them. How dare he criticise The Episcopal Church for passing Resolutions which give permission to do things that happen in his own diocese and in the Church of England.
One of the other bishops named above is in a diocese where a previous diocesan was gay and another of the bishops is a partnered gay man.
John Hind is Bishop of Chichester, a diocese with one of the highest concentrations of gay priests in England, many of them partnered, and where a previous bishop was gay.
Pete Broadbent is a bishop in the Diocese of London, another diocese with a high number of lesbian and gay priests, many of them partnered.
Graham Kings has recently been consecrated and arrived in the diocese where I live, where I have Permission to Officiate and where there are many lesbian and gay priests. Graham knows many gay priests himself and it saddens me to read what he has written on the Fulcrum web site.
The corruption and fault lines in the Anglican Communion, if they are to be found anywhere, lie between those who are naïve, ignorant or dishonest and those who try to live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are faithful, truthful and live with integrity.
Provinces in Africa, South America and the Far East are not immune from my strictures. I know perfectly well that the Nigerian church has tens of thousands of lesbian and gay men worshipping week by week, many of them sexually active.
Returning to Jonathan Wynne-Jones analysis, I don’t think it is the Resolutions passed at General Convention that have dealt a blow to unity. Evangelicals in the UK have continued to destroy whatever fragile unity there might have been between them. Anglican Mainstream attacks Fulcrum and Greenbelt while Fulcrum attacks Mainstream.
The tiny minority of English bishops who have publicly declared support for FCAUK have deliver a blow to unity in the House of Bishops, where the other 90% of bishops do not support FCAUK.
There are lesbian and gay priests in every diocese in England and a number of gay bishops. The Church of England bishops may have adopted Issues in Human Sexuality as policy and issued a Statement on Civil Partnerships. I estimate from Changing Attitude’s research that over 50% of Church of England bishops know clergy in their dioceses who have contracted Civil Partnerships.
Bishops that don’t know they have lesbian and gay clergy in their dioceses are either naïve or stupid or both.
Bishops Tom Wright, Pete Broadbent, Graham Kings and John Hind have deeply compromised themselves, their truthfulness and integrity, by criticising The Episcopal Church. The Lambeth Conference may have passed Resolution 1.10. The prejudice and ignorance of the majority doesn’t make the attitude of 1.10 towards LGBT Anglicans right.
The crisis in the Church will not be solved by reacting negatively to the actions of the American Church. It will be solved when the Communion has the courage to face the truth about human sexuality, straight as well as LGBT.