I have just posted a news report of the presidential address given by Bishop John McIntyre to the 2012 Synod meeting of the Diocese of Gippsland, Australia, when he addressed same-sex attracted people in the diocese and same-sex marriage. My apologies to Changing Attitude Australia who reported the bishop’s address at the time (and have a very lively page on Facebook!).
Bishop John set out his thoughts in a way that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a Church of England bishop express with such calm clarity and commitment.
“Only in light of reflection on God’s Word did I finally come to understand. Despite what I or others may believe is their worthiness, the fruit of the works of many gay and lesbian people has brought God’s blessing to me and to many other people, both in and beyond the church.
“That is the measure of their worthiness to minister in the name of Jesus Christ in the life of the church, and in the community in the name of the church. That indicates their place in the life of God’s people.”
You can read the relevant passages from his presidential address here.
It seems that Bishop John has already put his beliefs into action by appointing a partnered gay man to a ministry position in the diocese, something the Diocese of Sydney noticed from a report in the Gippsland diocesan newspaper.
Sydney has issued a statement expressing their Standing Committee’s dismay at the Bishop’s comments from which, it says, “it is reasonable to infer his intention to appoint, amongst others, practising homosexuals to ministry roles in his Diocese and support same-sex marriages.”
Thank goodness for Changing Attitude Australia and for bishops like John McIntyre in Gippsland who have the confidence to be open an honest. Bishop John has acted according to his Christian conscience in appointing a partnered gay man. So do many bishops in England. The difference – in Australia bishop John has done so deliberately and set out his reasons for doing so in a public formum.