The Director and trustees of Changing Attitude England wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury on 28 November 2014 expressing our concerns about the appointment of bishops in England and the homophobia and violence visited on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Africa, supported by members of the Anglican Communion. We have not yet received a reply nor an acknowledgment.
The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby
Dear Archbishop Justin,
I am writing on behalf of the trustees of Changing Attitude England.
We understand from people directly involved with the Crown Nominations Committee process that you have personally pressurised CNCs not to appoint of Jeffrey John, arguing that to appoint him would create unacceptable difficulties and risk for African members of the Anglican Communion.
Committing an injustice in the Church of England in order to appease homophobia in African Anglicanism is a double moral failure, which ultimately damages the Church both here and there. Changing Attitude works extensively with African LGBTI Christians, assisting some to seek asylum here because of the homophobia and violence visited on them in Africa. You are colluding in the maintenance of injustice and violence by not speaking out against the rampant homophobia of many African churches, Primates and bishops, protecting them instead of LGBTI people.
This is being so widely discussed that we doubt that the identity of gay bishops will remain out of the public domain for very much longer. There is widespread discussion of and great anger about the extensive hypocrisy of the Church.
The rising indignation about this is going to be a powder keg under the shared conversations unless it is addressed urgently. The now widely leaked news of your actions gives the message that concealment, not honesty, is a quality prized in Church of England bishops.
Meanwhile we are hearing from an increasing number of candidates for ordination that they are being questioned about their sexuality in a way that goes well beyond MinDiv guidelines. This intrusive interrogation once again ensures that the scrupulously truthful are ruled out of ordained ministry, while those prepared to lie are let through. With one hand the Church offers ‘shared conversations’, with other it is covertly introducing new, more stringent measures to exclude LGBTI from holding office in the Church.
The Reverend Colin Coward MBE
Director of Changing Attitude England on behalf of the trustees
The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu
Mr Edward Chaplin, Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary for senior ecclesiastical appointments
Mr Wiliam Fittall, Secretary General of the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council
Revd Arun Arora, Director of Communications at Church House
Ms Ailsa Anderson, Director of Communications at Lambeth Palace