Friday 25 June 2010

Mitregate – the aftermath

I’ve been trying to work out what Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori did that was so terribly wrong in Southwark Cathedral. Was it that she held her mitre, held it too high, held it but didn’t wear it? – these seem such trivial reasons from which such a messy scenario developed.

Was it instead that Colin Slee or the Archbishop of Canterbury did something wrong? - Colin, by being honest and open and asking Lambeth for formal approval; Lambeth for reacting inappropriately because of poor advice given by the in-house advice team?

As mitregate recedes into history, is it just another tragic chapter in the LGBT/Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion chaos theory inequality story? Commentators were interested in what happened and who was to blame. Can anything more significant be learned from what happened with its many trivial twists and turns?

Bishop Katharine carried her mitre. Was it a deliberate, immature act of provocation? Should she not have carried it at all, even though other visiting TEC bishops, men and women, have worn their mitres? Was the wearing-the-mitre ban an act of stupidity? Should permission for her to preside and preach here have been refused by Lambeth Palace – some Southwark clergy clearly thought so.

Did they object because TEC broke the Windsor moratorium or because she’s a woman bishop, or just because she’s a woman, and therefore not recognised by God as equal? in creation and in the mission and ministry of the church (perhaps we’ll find out the answer to that when Synod votes on the Archbishops’ amendment in York).

Well, not equal with men – that would be just too stupid, wouldn’t it (if you’re a member of Forward in Faith or Reform – or GAFCON or ACNA or Anglican Mainstream (or do they have a divided attitude to the role of women in the church?)). Sorry, there are lots of questions and brackets in this blog – it’s all so silly, isn’t it?

Perhaps Bishop Katharine was wrong just because she’s a North American Anglican – they’re the whipping girls of the Communion, aren’t they? Perhaps it’s because she dared to accept an invitation from naughty Dean Colin Slee to preach in his daringly open and inclusive cathedral in Southwark, just down the road from Lambeth Palace, source of all authority, and across the river from London diocese where all sorts of shocking things never happen because the bishops never see them.

Perhaps it’s because Bishop Katharine, representing the Episcopal Church, disobeyed Windsor deliberately and openly. Yes, that must be the reason, because she’s supportive of LGBT people at every level of church life and because she’s doing something to which her Province is committed, ordaining partnered lesbian and gay people as priests and bishops and blessing gay relationships, when Windsor and God and the Bible say we mustn’t. Yes, that must be the reason why mitregate blew up. Windsor, God and the Bible are right and the majority in the Communion agree.

But it isn’t congruent with Christian witness and teaching – this isn’t what Jesus embodied and Paul taught. Mitregate opts for law against justice, for legalism against mercy for oppressed minorities, it sides with the prejudiced majority who issue judgment against some of God’s children.

That’s why transgressing Windsor in favour of the gospel is the right course of action – isn’t it? Or am I guilty of getting God wrong again, silly me? The core of the Gospel (for those who think I am not just silly but dangerous) is about not offending your neighbour by doing something which distresses, embarrasses or makes life difficult for them. I make the mistake of acting against church rules, which of course trump Jesus and the Gospels every time.

Sad C of E, sad Lambeth, sad Anglican Communion, trapped by systems, structures and bureaucracy and a terrible false myth of what it means to be Christian.
‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. Love cannot wrong a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13.10

Colin Coward

Thursday 24 June 2010

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo from Uganda cites the Irish Peace Process in opposition to Anti-Gay Bill

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo who was a member of the Inclusive Church team at the Lambeth Conference in 2008 has just completed a speaking tour in Ireland following an extensive tour of the USA. In Ireland, he condemned what he described as the "draconian" Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his native Uganda. He said, "we should follow the good example of Ireland where you have been successful in seeking and affecting reconciliation."

Citing the example of the peace process in Northern Ireland he told the congregation in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin on Sunday 20th June that, "… you as the people of Ireland - you have a very great thing that God has done for you. That is the reconciliation in Northern Ireland that I have seen. You must now declare to other people that it is possible to bring peace where there is war, prosperity where there is poverty, health where there is disease and life where there is death and above all, love where there is hate. Jesus wants you to go and tell this to others so that they too may experience hope and change."

Turning to the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, the Bishop said that "… it criminalises LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people to the extent that even the words 'homosexual rights' must never be mentioned...Failure to report an LGBT person within 24 hours would be a crime...and committed homosexuals would face prison sometimes between 3 and 7 years, life imprisonment or even the death sentence." The Bill he said, "… intends to exterminate homosexuals." He continued, "… by the grace of God, some people are speaking against the Bill, President Obama described it as odious."

Urging people in Ireland to oppose the bill he said, "… they [homosexuals] may be different, and they are, but we should live with differences.” He went on to call for education because, "I have found that a lot of the prejudice against LGBT people comes from ignorance."

He concluded his sermon at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin on Sunday with the prayer. "Almighty God, we believe that in Christ there is no discrimination against race, colour, gender or LGBT people. We pray that you guide us with your Holy Spirit so that all hate campaigns including those against LGBT people may be transformed into peace, justice and reconciliation. Amen."

During his stay in Dublin, Bishop Senyonjo met with Senator David Norris, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and representatives of GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network).His visit was arranged by Changing Attitude Ireland

Tuesday 22 June 2010

The new Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria reflects on the relationship between parents and their lesbian and gay children

Davis Mac-Iyalla, founder of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN), who was granted asylum in the UK in 2008 has recently nominated Uche Sam as the new Director of CAN. Uche lives in Jos and tells me that he is formulating a strategy and vision, plans to visit and support the groups meeting in Nigeria and to consult about the way forward.

He has sent the following message to the members of CAN:

Warm greetings to you all and I hope you are having a splendid weekend. I just want to update you on my encounter with a young gay man who I happened to meet yesterday. He told me a lot about how he has suffered at the hands of his parents. Parents are the ones who are supposed to protect us from harm, but I have found out that most parents have a lot on the negative side towards their gay children.

This young man told me how his parents neglected him after they discovered that he was gay and since then life has been hell for him. They even took him to a deliverance house where he was told to fast for seven days to be delivered from the spirit, as they put it.

After this young man told me of his encounter, he later asked me what would be my advice to him and that he already has evil intention for his parents.

I was still for a while and later told him that the only way he can win his parents love for him is to show LOVE, because that is the best attitude you can display. It is not his fault that he is gay and neither is it his parent’s fault that they don’t understand because they lack wisdom. I gave him a place in the Bible to read, from the book of Hebrews 12:15 which says “looking diligently ...... lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you”.

When you are faced with a hurtful, offensive situation, refuse to let a wrong attitude take a root and produce bad fruit.

Most of us have faced serious neglect from our parents and the truth is that they will always see us as the bad egg in the family and we are also not valued among our siblings. This attitude from our parents has to be changed and worked upon. We need that love and care and attention from our parents and when we don’t get such, we tend to look for it elsewhere.

They may think that they are correcting us , but at the end we get hurt and some people begin to keep a lot in their mind which brings about bitterness.

Changing attitude should look at the home which is our first place of upbringing and see how we can make a change at home. I look forward to a time where parents will love and care for their children despite their sexuality. I have also noticed that most young gay people don’t live with their parents due to their sexuality but struggle on their own to make it in life.

The very reason weeds take over a garden is because the gardener doesn’t pull them in time. When your garden is choked by weeds you can't say, I don't know how it happened. But when you look diligently you will see them. This is a message I wish to pass to all parents.

When in time they notice their children's sexuality, they will start to bring them up in the way of the Lord and to accept who they are and also teach them how to live with their state of mind. At the end they will be happy to know that they have produced good children.

I am so sure that God is not happy with the way most parents treat their children who are gay. It is time for a change and we are here to make that change happen in our time. We must all show love and forgive whatever our parents or anyone has done to us. Change starts from us.

More blessings to you all.

Uche Sam
Director Changing Attitude Nigeria.

Monday 21 June 2010

Why is the Archbishop of Canterbury aligning himself with such reactionary forces?

On Friday James Lodwick posted a comment asking whether I think Archbishop Rowan’s hesitations about women bishops and his opposition to ordaining open and partnered gays and lesbians is strongly motivated by his deep Catholic-minded desire to lead Anglicans closer to Rome and to Orthodoxy. If that is his objective, writes James, then removing the "offense" to dialogue with Rome and Constantinople by sacking the women-and-gay-inclusive TEC representatives would make a lot of sense in his terms.

I don’t know the answer to James’s question but if it is indeed one of the reasons, then it has brought the Archbishop accidentally or deliberately into an alliance with conservative forces in the Communion creating a movement towards the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches and away from a reformed and revitalized Christianity which could lead to progress in the direction of a Christ-centered rather than a dogma or tradition-centered church.

There is a movement of the Spirit flowing in our world which is leading people in new directions, towards a reconnection with the earth, our environment and the inherent unity of all creation in God and away from dualism, polarization and the abuse of our planet and of each other.

I meet many, many people now whose hearts, minds and spirit experience a yearning to live a Christ-centered life towards such a vision. It is a vision shared by many Anglicans in the UK, North and South America, Africa and Asia. I asked Archbishop Thabo Makgoba about African spirituality at the USPG Conference, sensing that he might be more rooted in an earthy, holistic spirituality than some other African Primates. My vision does not seem to be shared (or at least, not publicly articulated) by those Communion leaders who are the driving force in the ACNA/Global South/GAFCON coalitions.

They are successfully attempting to drive the Communion in a tragically different direction, focused on who they wish to judge and exclude based on an understanding of the Kingdom of God in which there are insiders and outsiders, first and second class members, where LGBT people are to be judged and condemned for what we do by some and for who we are by others.

These are the forces with which for very different ecclesial and theological reasons (I suspect) the Archbishop of Canterbury is aligning himself. The result, if these forces really come to dominate the Anglican Communion as a result of the Windsor process and the Anglican Covenant, will be a divided, partisan church, not in the Anglican tradition, exclusive rather than inclusive, narrow not broad.

The ethos of this realigned Communion will be formed by a false defence of the faith rather than an openness to the presence of the Holy Spirit flowing through all creation, moving people into unity of heart and mind fuelled by an innate human longing for intimacy and love and respect for this beautiful, fragile planet on which we are utterly dependent for life and well-being.

On 9 June, the Archbishop of Canterbury preached in St Paul's Cathedral in celebration of the Royal Society's 350th anniversary. He celebrated the role of curiosity and openness to new knowledge in the development of science, the workings of Wisdom, and drew parallels with the life of faith:
'A skewed eye, a blocked or a lazy eye, a selective eye, these are in the long run the sources of corruption - not only the corruption of ideas but corruption of humanity. To keep the eye open is to keep open the possibility of health for the whole body (says Our Lord). And surely not only the body of the individual but the body of a society...

'The early exuberance of the Royal Society-and exuberance is not I think an unfair word for it - the voracious appetite for the trivial and the metaphysical together, is a very good reminder of the origins of science in the human - human curiosity, yes, and the human willingness to be surprised and to begin again...

'Faith, our Christian faith, presupposes that we are indeed as human beings attuned to truth and to growth, made by a God whose love has designed us for joy, and discovering that this directedness towards joy mysteriously comes alive when we look into the living truth, the living wisdom, of the face of a Christ who drives us back again and again to question ourselves so that we stay alive.'

As Savi Hensman pointed out to the LGBT Anglican Coalition, it is ironic that the structures the Archbishop is seeking to put in place in the Anglican Communion are designed to choke such growth. He is allowing Communion policy and praxis to be driven by those most opposed to the idea of the health of the whole body and the whole of society, of exuberance for life, human beings attuned to truth and growth and God whose love has designed us for joy, who drives us back to question ourselves so that we stay alive. Tragic.

Colin Coward

Saturday 19 June 2010

The full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians is the most serious threat to the life of the Communion says Kenneth Kearon

Canon Kenneth Kearon met the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council on Friday and told them that in removing Episcopal Church members from some Anglican Communion ecumenical dialogues “the aim has not been to get at the Episcopal Church, but to find room for others to remain as well as enabling as full a participation as possible for the Episcopal Church within the communion.”

He said the church ought to have known that it would face sanctions when Mary Glasspool was ordained as the church’s second openly gay, partnered bishop. Asked about incursions by other provinces of the Communion he said such ongoing breaches of the moratorium on incursions do not rise to the same level of departure from the faith and order of the Communion as does the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Christians.

There you have it. We LGBT people are the problem that needs to be dealt with. With my brothers and sisters in North America, Africa, South America and Asia, I am the problem. My sexuality is the element that needs to be contained and suppressed by the Communion because I threaten its life.

Dr Rowan Williams, Canon Kenneth Kearon and conservative theologians, commentators and pressure groups are now united in having identified the single problem causing distress to the Communion and have focussed the problem on the Episcopal Church, it’s actions, theology and praxis. It’s an easy solution to pin all the blame on the actions of the Episcopal Church in consecrating two bishops who are in committed relationships with same-sex partners.

I want to broaden the scenario. It’s too easy to narrow the focus of blame. Historically, the failure started following the Lambeth Conference of 1978 when no action was taken on Resolution 10 and was repeated in 1988 when no action followed the passing of Resolution 64. It is the failure of the Communion to engage with the issue of homosexuality that is the precursor of the present problems.

My self-interest in wanting to survive as a gay Christian in a church that is becoming increasingly hostile to my presence holds that the guilt and responsibility for where we are now and the dynamics in relation to the Episcopal Church can be laid elsewhere. Why didn’t the Communion respond in 1987 and 1988? Were the powers-that-be too afraid to deal with homosexuality?

Much, much more critically, why was nothing done in the 7 years following Lambeth 1998 and the passing of Resolution 1.10? No Communion-wide response was started until Kenneth Kearon was in post as Secretary General. Those 7 years were critical and left a vacuum in which conservatives pursued a campaign against gays in the church and TEC elected Gene Robinson.

Blaming the Episcopal Church for breaking the rules now ignores, to my great distress, the abhorrent attitudes and behaviour towards LGBT people manifest in many Anglican Provinces and leaders. It is this that really outrages and incenses me and why I think the Communion is getting the debate so horribly wrong. Attention is focussed on rule-breaking by TEC but fails to hold Provinces, church leaders, bishops and primates to account for the bigotry and intolerance of LGBT people they express in the name of Christianity.

So we continue down the fateful path outlined by the Windsor Report and the Anglican Covenant, driven by conservative forces on the ground of upholding the plain meaning of the Bible, the unchallengeable historic teaching of the church and the unexamined prejudices of Christianity and human societies against LGBT people, sacrificing LGBT lives in the process.

In the shadow of the Anglican obsession with homosexuality are tens of thousands of people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, who live as I lived in the 60s and 70s, in the closet, in hiding from parents and families, friends and peer groups, work colleagues, congregations and priests, in fear and sometimes with self-loathing. I talk with people across the globe every day who sometimes patiently, sometimes in an agonised outpouring of anguish, describe their lives to me.

And I know, calming myself down, that Continuing Indaba is being progressed, laying the foundations for a process of education through shared experience that will eventually lead to change.

But that does not exempt church leaders now from the charge of being so obsessed with this issue, with tradition and orthodox teaching, with judging and condemning a church which openly ordains partnered gay men and lesbians and blesses loving same-sex relationships, with imposing sanctions, that they lose sight of the sinful behaviour of the church in colluding with violence, oppression and injustice against an innocent, vulnerable minority. We are an easy target for bigots.

I know I am one of the few voices crying in a wilderness but what is happening in the Communion is an outrage. Technically, the Episcopal Church has broken specific rules in contravention of the moratoria. I can see that it’s easy to issue a guilty charge as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General have done. I can see where this is leading and I’m frightened, not only for the safety of LGBT people but for the future of Christ-like witness in our Communion.

It’s much easier to issue sanctions against TEC than it is against Provinces who have transgressed the moratoria on boundary crossing. It’s not quite so easy to gather the evidence. It’s much easier to blame TEC than to challenge the behaviour of Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of Nigeria, who is waging a fight against homosexuality and called for Nigeria to withdraw from the UN because of its support for homosexuality. Isn’t this a contravention of the Windsor Report? But not of the three moratoria, so not actionable in the way consecrating a lesbian or gay bishop is.

Homosexuality has been made the defining issue by conservatives, not women priests or bishops, not polygamy, divorce or abortion, not abusive behaviour, power or corruption, not the survival of our planet, but the love people of the same sex have for each other, deemed by the majority in our Communion to be deviant and bringing the church into disrepute.

We are not the most serious threat to the life of the Communion, we are not in any way a threat but a gift and blessing.

Friday 18 June 2010

A huge gulf is opening in England between the attitude of the general population to gay partnerships and the Church of England

My partner and I are planning to contract our Civil Partnership in October (dependent on approval from the Home Office). Our focus will not be the legal ceremony in the registry office but a service of holy communion in church using material from Jim Cotter’s The Service of my Love. We met our Rector this week to talk about planning the service. He is totally positive about our desire to commit ourselves to each other in church in the presence of God and our friends.

Similar services have been taking place in St Luke’s Charlton in South London for over 15 years with the full approval of the PCC. Other services have taken place up and down the country in village halls, marquees, secular venues – and in churches. Guests at Christian ceremonies in secular venues fail to understand why they can’t be held in church. Because church rules forbid it is not a satisfactory answer for the couple’s family and friends.

A huge gulf is opening in this country between the attitude of the general population to gay partnerships and the official position of the Church of England. The church is driven by a conservative minority demanding that it conforms to Issues in Human Sexuality, Lambeth 1.10, the House of Bishops Statement and the Windsor Report (conformity being selective).

The gulf is not simply an inability to accept C of E teaching about the place of LGBT people in the church but about people’s spiritual experience and their vision of God. I’ll return to this in a later blog. Today I want to focus on the outworking of the Windsor Report.

Since the Episcopal Church consecrated Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, there has been a storm of reaction from conservatives and counter-reactions from pro-LGBT networks. The Archbishop of Canterbury issued his Pentecost letter, the Presiding Bishop responded, the General Secretary laid out the next steps. Others have issued thoughtful responses, Giles Goddard for Inclusive Church sending open letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop and Andrew Goddard writing an analysis for Fulcrum.

In the past, I would have engaged critically with the contributions posted by others and with Andrew’s analysis of the meaning and implications of the Archbishop’s letter. I’ve been struggling to write a blog for over a week, beginning but not completing several drafts, trying to express truthfully my response to the various published reactions.

I’m with the people who express disbelief at what the Archbishop of Canterbury is proposing and despair at the success with which conservative forces are destroying the credibility our church in the hearts and minds of English seekers after God. My despair increases when I read reports by George Conger and Anglican Curmudgeon that the Archbishop has conveyed to the Presiding Bishop a private request that she withdraw from her position on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and not attend the next Primates' Meeting in January 2011.

The majority of people I talk with are unaware of the developments taking place behind the scenes in our church and Communion. If they were aware, they are likely to be uncomprehending, despairing or angry. Despair and anger would increase if the reports that both Archbishops plan to table an amendment at General Synod in York to provide greater protection for those opposed to women bishops turn out to be true.

No innovation is the mantra of conservatives opposed to changes in church teaching and practice in the ordination of women bishops (and still, for many, priests) and the full inclusion of LGBT people in church life and ministry. In England, this stance is proving disastrous for people’s perception of the Church of England which they perceive as prejudiced, homophobic, reactionary, and out of touch with the life and teaching of Jesus revealed in the Gospels.

That’s the greatest tragedy – that the position of the church is now radically at odds with most people’s experience of God and is a barrier to discipleship and spirituality. More about God later!

On the wider front of Anglican Communion policy, the majority of people I talk with are at one with the Episcopal Church in wanting to challenge injustice, work for change and extend love and welcome to all God’s children. Attitudes held by many key leaders and opinion formers in the Communion towards LGBT people are viewed as barbaric. People do not distinguish between the death penalty for lesbian and gay people proposed in the Ugandan legislation, the proposed ant-gay marriage bill in Nigeria, the condemnation of TEC for having elected partnered openly lesbian and gay bishops and the murders of gay men in the UK.

The mind of the church towards the place of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion, detailed in the Windsor report, is being interpreted and put into effect selectively by the Archbishop of Canterbury to maintain unity in the Communion. This is proving to be a disastrous policy for the mission and spiritual and pastoral ministry of the Church of England. LGBT Anglicans are reaching a level of despair at the direction in which our church is being taken. With those enlightened enough to support us, we know what the C of E seems unable to acknowledge fully – that we too have been created in the image of God.

Meanwhile, planning for the celebration of our Civil Partnership in Devizes continues. Invitations will be sent out when we have the go-ahead from the UK Border Agency. We hope many will come and celebrate with us, rejoicing in our love for each other within the love of God. The disconnect between our intimate plans for celebrating our relationship and the machinations going on in the Communion is huge. It won’t be resolved for me until LGBT people are not just made safe across the world but welcomed warmly and lovingly by every Christian community.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Thabo Makgoba and Katharine Jefferts Schori model the possibility of creative dialogue at the USPG Conference

The USPG Conference has provided a remarkable opportunity to hear Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba deliver the two keynote addresses and to hear them interact as members of the discussion panel on Wednesday evening.

Bishop Katherine used her address to outline an ethos for mission and then to describe the history and polity of the Episcopal Church in some detail. In response to a question from me, she outlined how the church’s response to slavery 200 years ago laid the foundations of a commitment to justice and equality in the church which has led to the development over 50 years of a radically inclusive policy towards LGBT people.

Archbishop Thabo used his address to talk in detail about the Church of Southeran Africa, the Anglican Communion and the effect of the Episcopal Church’s polity. Andrew commented on Thinking Anglicans, Archbishop Thabo is being what Archbishop Rowan is trying (and failing) to be - an honest broker dedicated to maintaining the unity of the Communion as far as possible and wasn’t afraid to talk directly to Presiding Bishop Katharine in his address.

The Primate of Brazil, the Most Revd Mauricio Andrade and the Rt Revd Dr Jo Seoka are also here together with participants from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

If there are Global South Primates ruthlessly determined to split the Communion over the issue of human sexuality, then nothing is going to divert them from their chosen path. But despite their continued aggressive rhetoric and the poison spewed by Stand Firm and VirtueOnline in the USA, the split still hasn’t occurred. Having listened to Archbishop Thabo in a 90 minute interest group this morning and asked him detailed questions, I have no doubt that he has the capacity to engage with other Global South Primates and remind them that they are not the sole representatives of Global South attitudes.

The Province of Southern Africa continues to be divided in its attitude to LGBT people, but Archbishop Thabo described how the church is engaging with difference in a creative and constructive way. The Province is setting a model example not only for the rest of Africa but for the whole Communion. There is clearly more openness and honesty and respect for difference in South Africa than in the Church of England.

Primate Katherine and Archbishop Thabo have restored my confidence in the possibility of the Communion weathering the current storm and emerging with changing attitudes inspired with a more radical commitment to the Christian gospel.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

What the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General should really be doing

The old, patriarchal paradigm of power, authority and control continues to exert its influence over some leaders of the Anglican Communion as they respond to the presence of LGBT people and the campaign waged by the self-proclaimed majority against our full inclusion.

In his Pentecost letter the Archbishop of Canterbury proposes that members of provinces that are in breach of the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of the Communion should no longer participate in the formal ecumenical dialogues in which the Anglican Communion is engaged. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, has written selectively to the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and to Greg Venables of the Southern Cone.

The Rt Rev Martyn Minns is among those who might have been expected to be sent a letter but hasn’t. He told the Living Church that the primates, “never agreed that there’s a moral equivalence between what they see as an attempt to change the Anglican Communion’s teaching and a provision for temporary pastoral care.”

Moral inequality is the name of the game for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General. They have been selective in their exclusions. They demonstrate their inability to respond with Christian love, courage, wisdom and compassion to the campaign being fought by adherents of the old paradigm who want to marginalise at best and dehumanise at worst LGBT people.

What should the Archbishop and Secretary General be doing?
They should witness to the violence perpetrated against LGBT people. The anti-homosexuality Bills in Nigeria and Uganda are actively supported by Christians. Millions of LGBT Africans live in fear, intimidated by extreme rhetoric, vilified and attacked. In England, gay men continue to be murdered in homophobic attacks.

What should they be doing?
They should be opposing Anglican leaders and forces in the Communion which claim to respect LGBT people whilst advocating actions and doctrines which diminish us and reinforce prejudice and hatred against us. They should denounce every homophobic statement made by Anglican Primates, bishops, leaders and teachers, at the risk of being accused of colonialism.

What should they be doing?
They should be seeking to change the mind of the Communion expressed in the clauses of Lambeth 1.10 which fail to grant full respect, dignity and equality to LGBT people, to our loving, faithful relationships and our welcome to every level of ministry in the church.

What should they be doing?
They should be faithful to their own Christian integrity, challenging the use of passages from the Bible to maintain prejudice against LGBT people. The Archbishop and the Secretary General are at heart “revisionists” (the pejorative term used to demean pro-LGBT campaigners). They should revise all church teaching which scapegoats LGBT people and corrupts the gospel which teaches the goodness and glory of humanity as sexual beings created in love by God.

What should they be doing?
They should respect The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada in their commitment to model justice and love for all people who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. They should come out of their closets and state openly that the Church of England ordains, often knowingly, partnered LGBT people. Many bishops actively encourage clergy to contract a Civil Partnership and by implication, support the blessing of lesbian and gay relationships.

What should they be doing?
They should be supporting the eradication of homophobia and prejudice against LGBT people in the Anglican Communion instead of supporting punitive sanctions and colluding with those who advocate prejudice. If this is to be the effect of the Anglican Covenant, then the Covenant will be a further instrument of prejudice and intolerance and Changing Attitude says NO to the Covenant.

This morning I’m driving to Swanwick to take part in the 2010 USPG conference ‘Witnessing to Christ Today”. The principal speakers are the Most Revd Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town. I expect to hear two people who speak truthfully from their own hearts and proclaim a gospel of justice and love in the name of Jesus Christ, a gospel which fully includes, respects and protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Colin Coward
Director of Changing Attitude England