Inclusive Church, a network of Anglicans who support gay clergy and endorse the blessing of same-sex relationships, broadened its geographical reach this weekend when a new group was formed in Sheffield. Inclusive Church was set up at the height of the row over the election of Bishop Gene Robinson in the USA and the forced withdrawal of Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading.
The new branch was established after a preliminary meeting was called by Reverend Nick Jowett, from St Andrews in Psalter Lane in Sheffield. He says that by joining the group, he is voicing many people’s concerns over the ongoing row and the ever-present threat of schism in the church. Jowett told the BBC that his decision to join Inclusive Church was an attempt to help modernise the perception of the Anglican Communion. “We hope to work in respectful dialogue with, but also with a clear ‘political’ opposition to, those who take a more conservative view in the church,” he said. The group’s first meeting was held last week, with Paul Collier, the General Synod’s Human Sexuality Group chair speaking.