On August 17th, 2011 Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream, responded to the open letter from Rev Benny Hazlehurst (writing on behalf of the LGBT Anglican Coalition) about conversations with the two groups of bishops appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, one broadly conservative, the other broadly liberal.
The first issue I want to address is whether or not the broadly liberal group, then convened by John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln and now by Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells, had engaged in conversations with Changing Attitude or any of the other LGBT groups.
As evidence, Dr Giddings cites a blog titled ‘Changing Attitude’s contribution to the House of Bishop’s working groups’ posted on the Changing Attitude web site on September 22nd 2010. I reported that John Saxbee had asked us (in an email) to send our thoughts. After consulting our local groups and supporters Changing Attitude forwarded comments to John Saxbee (in a letter).
Nothing I wrote in the blog suggested that we had met with the group. We hadn’t and never have. I had informal conversations with John Saxbee at General Synod as I do with many bishops. Dr Philip Giddings interprets the blog as a matter of public record that Lesbian and Gay groups took part in the conversations with the group. We didn’t.
What Dr Giddings does reveal, however (and this may explain why he thinks we met with the group) is that Anglican Mainstream, amongst others, contributed to the group chaired by the Bishop of Birmingham. Now, Dr Giddings doesn’t explicitly say that Anglican Mainstream met with the group – contributed is the word he uses – but might this account for his belief that Changing Attitude had, like them, met with the liberal group?
I will comment more extensively on the second part of Dr Giddings’ letter in a second installment.