Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Letter to English House of Bishops
Anglican Mainstream ^ | 9/19/2005

Posted on 09/21/2005 5:25:35 PM PDT by sionnsar

Dear Bishops,

We write in response to your pastoral statement of July 25 2005.

We acknowledge the considerable complexities you have faced in responding to the passage of the Civil Partnership Act. Yet we are concerned at your response to the ambiguity in the Civil Partnership Act.  

While individuals are free under civil law to register partnerships, given the ambiguity in the legislation and because they are bound to be seen as a form of gay “marriage”, it would be inadvisable for Christians to enter them if only to avoid causing scandal. We acknowledge the need to remove unjust discrimination in our social legislation but it is necessary to recognise that sexual expression of the relationship in a registered Civil Partnership has been explicitly acknowledged by the government. For example refusal of sexual intimacy is a possible ground for dissolution of the partnership. It is naïve to think that a significant number of those embarking upon a civil partnership will eschew sexual intimacy, as hoped for by the bishops. This reality will in due course bring your advice into disrepute. In these circumstances, we believe that it would be better for you to advise all Christians, whether lay or ordained, not to enter civil partnerships, rather than entering them under restricted conditions.

Our thinking in this is guided by our expectation that as our bishops and teachers you will publicly, courageously and consistently hold out to society the teaching of the Bible and the Church and the implications of it for holiness of life. For these reasons, we look to you as leaders of our church strongly to discourage Christians from registering Civil Partnerships, and to exercise  appropriate discipline with regard to the clergy. Merely to require of those clergy registering that they refrain from sexual expression may lead to hypocrisy by encouraging some clergy not to tell and some bishops not to ask. We remain unconvinced that monitoring and ensuring conformity to this standard is realistic and would like to know how the refusal to give assurances in this matter will be dealt with.

Furthermore, the statement goes beyond your report “Issues in Human Sexuality” in its treatment of the laity. Most have taken the assertion in “Issues” that the church does not reject homophile people to mean they are welcomed in worship and to hear the word of God. This welcome does not exclude the possibility of appropriate pastoral care or the exercise of compassionate discipline, in this as in other areas of life, in order to bring people to repentance and new life in Christ.

It is inconsistent to maintain that, while “the same standards apply to all” (¶23), no discipline should be applied to those who come (or bring infants) to baptism, confirmation or communion when these services call for an explicit public statement of repentance and commitment “to live a new life”. We also note with concern that you have given no guidance for lay officers in the church such as readers, churchwardens, youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, Deanery lay chairs, chairs of houses of laity and others who carry considerable responsibility for doctrinal and pastoral practice.

In summary we are seriously concerned that:

We therefore urge you to reconsider and revise your pastoral advice in order that the church may be seen to act on its declared beliefs and thus give a clear and unambiguous message in the light of the present confusion surrounding civil partnerships.

In order to uphold the authority of the traditional, historic and universal understanding of the Bible’s place in defining pastoral practice in human relationships, we will:

We continue in prayer for you, in the demanding role God has given you, and plead with you to speak biblically and boldly at a time when our society urgently needs to know the true guidance of God.


Bishop Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes, President, Church of England Evangelical Council
Rev David Banting, Vicar of St Peter’s Harold Wood (Chelmsford) and National Chair of Reform

Prebendary Richard Bewes OBE, formerly Rector of All Souls Langham Place (London)

Rev John Coles, Director, New Wine Network

Rev George Curry, Vicar of St Paul’s and St Stephen’s Churches, Newcastle and Chairman of Church Society

Rev Alyson Davie, Priest in Charge, The Mundens with Sacombe (St Albans)

The Ven Dr Paul Gardner, Archdeacon of Exeter and Chair of CEEC.
Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream UK

Rev Elisabeth Goddard, Assistant Minister (NSM) St Andrew’s, North Oxford

Rev David McCarthy, Rector, St Silas, Glasgow, Secretary, Scottish Anglican Network

Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary Anglican Mainstream International

Rev Nicholas Wynne-Jones, Area Dean of Beckenham, Secretary of Church of England Evangelical Council 

On behalf of Anglican Mainstream UK.

For further information please contact:

Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream UK 0118-931 8207 / 0118 954 3892

Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary Anglican Mainstream International

01865 -883388

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 09/21/2005 5:25:39 PM PDT by sionnsar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 09/21/2005 5:26:13 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sionnsar

These men are showing the courage and that prophecy is alive in God's church.

In Christ,
Deacon Paul+

3 posted on 09/22/2005 4:42:35 AM PDT by BelegStrongbow (St. Joseph, protector of the Innocent, pray for us!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson