The Revd Peter Ould, curate of Christ Church, Ware, has published an item on his blog entitled “Will Gene perform Hocus Pocus?” The article insinuates that Bishop Gene Robinson is going to preside at a Eucharist on Sunday 20th July in Canterbury organised by Changing Attitude and Integrity. The Eucharist begins at 2.30pm and is preceded by a picnic at 1.30. Peter further implies that the picnic is the Eucharist. He says he is sincere in wanting to know who will say ‘the magic words’ and yet he describes the service as ‘hocus pocus’. Readers will draw their own conclusions and judge Peter accordingly.
Peter writes: “I have it on the highest authority that the Changing Attitudes team have had it spelt out to them in no uncertain detail what the implications are if Mr Robinson as much as waves a finger towards anything vaguely resembling the elements.” Changing Attitude, not Attitudes, Peter; and which highest authority would that be?
The story has been given further publicity on the Anglican Mainstream website. It is based on a series of emails exchanged privately between himself and Brenda Harrison, honorary administrator for Changing Attitude England.
Why do Peter Ould and Anglican Mainstream report in such a malicious and un-Christian way? This has troubled me all through the Anglican debate about homosexuality, which is in truth a debate about the presence of loving, faithful LGBT people in our Communion – in every Province of the Communion and every parish in England. Peter and Canon Chris Sugden claim the moral high ground, maintaining that they are ‘true’ Christians. They are indeed Christians, but not in the way supporters of Changing Attitude identify as Christian. We are followers of Jesus Christ for whom telling the truth and not bearing false witness against our neighbour are cardinal virtues. Not so Peter Ould and Chris Sugden.
Who is presiding isn’t the most important detail of the service for us. What is important is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual Christians, both those who support the full inclusion of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion and, we suspect, some who are opposed, will meet to break bread together and pray for the bishops gathered at the Lambeth Conference.
The motive of Peter Ould and Anglican Mainstream is malicious and implies that Changing Attitude is secretive and deliberately hiding something. It should be of no surprise to Peter that we decline to give him information when he has attacked Changing Attitude on his web site in the past. He has shown himself to be un-Christian in motive and attitude, and we, wise as serpents, doubt that he asks questions of us from a kindly perspective
Changing Attitude is an organisation whose supporters are mainstream, faithful, committed, prayerful Anglicans. Whatever Peter’s attitude towards lesbian and gay people (and he brings considerable personal experience from his past life), he is acting in an un-Christian way by trying to denigrate other Christians. This is the strategy of those associated with Anglican Mainstream – bear false witness, spread rumours, undermine the ministry of other Anglican organisations. Their opening strategy for Lambeth doesn’t bode well for the future of the Communion.