“THE LAMBETH COMMISSION –
CHANGING ATTITUDE RESPONDS”
The consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire and the nomination of Jeffrey John to be Bishop of Reading were two of the most powerful gay-affirming actions ever taken by the Church. The Lambeth Commission threatens to deny this positive action.
If the bishops who participated in Bishop Robinson’s consecration are excluded from the Communion, this will be a hostile act. The exclusion of the whole Episcopal Church in the USA would be an even more extreme assault on the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Anglicans in every Province of the Communion and on their claim to be treated justly.
In 1998 the Lambeth Conference debated the issue of human sexuality and passed Resolution 1.10. One bishop likened the atmosphere of the debate to a Nuremberg Rally. In the aftermath, 182 bishops and archbishops signed a letter of apology to their lesbian and gay brothers and sisters.
The signatories included nine primates, among them Rowan Williams, then Bishop of Monmouth and now Archbishop of Canterbury, and Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh, who has been chairing the Lambeth Commission.
Dear sisters and brothers,
The Lambeth Conference has spent nearly three weeks deliberating issues of human sexuality, among many other vital issues facing our world-wide Communion. We have met in a climate of enormous diversity and have attempted both to articulate our views and listen carefully to those of others.
Within the limitations of this Conference, it has not been possible to hear adequately your voices, and we apologise for any sense of rejection that has occurred because of this reality. This letter is a sign of our commitment to listen to you and reflect with you theologically and spiritually on your lives and ministries. It is our deep concern that you do not feel abandoned by your Church and that you know of our continued respect and support.
We pledge that we will continue to reflect, pray and work for your full inclusion in the life of the Church. It is obvious that Communion-wide we are in great disagreement over what inclusion would mean. We ourselves have varied views and admit, as the report of the Human Sexuality Sub-section of the Conference says, that there is much we do not yet understand. But we believe it is an imperative of the Gospel and our faith that we seek such understanding.
We call on the entire Communion to continue (and in many places, begin) prayerful, respectful conversation on the issue of homosexuality. We must not stop where this Conference has left off. You, our sisters and brothers in Christ, deserve a more thorough hearing than you received over the past three weeks. We will work to make that so.
Full list of signatories can be found at:
The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude, said,
“Any proposal by the Lambeth Commission that tries to resolve the sexuality debate by excluding or suspending bishops or provinces will be a hostile act against faithful lesbian and gay Christians in every part of the Anglican Communion. It will betray the commitments made to us in the pastoral letter.
“Changing Attitude is committed to pursuing the goals set out by the bishops in their letter, and will hold all the signatories to account if they fail to achieve any effective progress. The church must listen to lesbian and gay people and reflect on our experience. The church must not abandon its lesbian and gay members but must demonstrate respect and support for them. The work begun in some provinces must continue with renewed urgency. In every Province where work has not yet even started, it must begin now.
“Changing Attitude, working with our partners in ‘Inclusive Communion‘, will support lesbian and gay christians, lay and ordained, in every province of the Communion. We will provide resources for education, encourage dialogue and make personal resources available be it in Norwich or Nigeria, Sheffield or Singapore.”
Changing Attitude is a national organisation of Bishops, Priests and Lay People in the Anglican Church calling for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
For further information please contact:
Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude
Tel. Office: 020 7738 1305
Mobile: 07770 844302
Weekends: 01380 724908
Office: 12 Lavender Gardens, London, SW11 1DL
Brenda Harrison, Administrator
Mobile: 07808 295706