Changing Attiude’s groups and contacts in different parts of the Anglican Communion are actively involved in work in response to the listening process and in supporting LGB&T Christians and supporters in places where there is deep hostility and a lack of understanding.
In Kenya, our contact the Revd Michael Kimindu continues to meet senior members of the Anglican Church and is creating a network of trust and understanding. Following a recent meeting with a priest in a senior post, he wrote to tell me that the priest believes gay rights are human rights, but he is not well versed on the issues affecting the debate on human sexuality in our Church. He asked Michael to provide him with reading materials on homosexuality.
The priest was cautious, requesting anonymity. He is an ally of Changing Attitude but in the closet about his views for fear of losing his position, which may include having an interest in becoming a bishop, and afraid of the Archbishop. The priest does not see change in the institution of the Church coming soon, though he is sure one day it will come. Michael says I really need to be in Africa to gauge the fear clergy have of the bishops. He says it beats reason and the purpose of education as well as faith in God.
Changing Attitude Nigeria is being led by Uche Sam to consolidate its position by applying for registration as an NGO in Nigeria. This will enable CAN to apply to grant making bodies for the financial resources which will enable the group to develop its work and be resourced by Uche and others. CA England has assisted CAN with funds to pay a lawyer to undertake the registration process which is even more complicated than registering a charity in the UK.
CA Scotland doesn’t need to be so actively involved because the Episcopal Church is rather more gay affirming than her other UK sisters. The Primus of Scotland, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, wrote an article in the Scotsman supporting the Scottish Government’s right to introduce same-sex marriage legislation. Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, who launched CA Scotland, preached about the proposal on Sunday 9 October and was reported in The Times and The Scotsman.
Changing Attitude Ireland responded actively to the news that Tom Gordon, Dean of Leighlin cathedral, had entered into a civil partnership with his partner of 20 years. The group has issued press releases and has received widespread coverage in the Irish press and on the BBC. The Irish bishops have now committed themselves for the first time to a process of listening and issued a Pastoral Letter. The content of the Letter will form the basis of a major conference being organized in Spring 2012 for members of the Church of Ireland General Synod and others, to assist the church in becoming more fully informed and to explore wider issues. Changing Attitude Ireland will be an important resource in preparing for and participating in the conference.
Changing Attitude New Zealand was instrumental in persuading the Diocesan Synod in Auckland to pass a resolution committing the diocese to an active response to the Listening Process. The group is now advising the diocese about protocols to be set up around the listening process and asked for CA England’s advice about experience in dioceses here and of resources that are available – discussion group material, videos and books. I had to report to Jeremy Younger, convenor of CA New Zealand, that very little activity is taking place in English dioceses in response to the listening process, though some are very creatively involved with Continuing Indaba.
One of the few places in England where the listening process has been actively pursued is the diocese of York. York is about to be joined by Wakefield, where the Bishop’s Council has invited Jeremy Timm, chair of CA trustees, to present the York dvd on a Friday evening to a residential meeting of the Council in November. I have been invited as well, and will help the Council on Saturday morning to identify a way forward for the listening process in the diocese.
A picture is emerging of work in the Anglican Communion, often local and small in scale, which is furthering the listening process and laying the foundations which will help the church understand the place of LGB&T people in the Communion and the urgent need to respect our presence as members of the Christian community created by God and called to be saints in the Kingdom of God. Changing Attitude is playing a creative part in building the Kingdom.