Open letters fly as Synod is torn by human sexuality row

AS GENERAL Synod met this week open letters were flying from both sides in the debate on human sexuality.

Last weekend a group of retired bishops cast doubt on the House of Bishops report following the three-year Shared Conversations process.

In their letter they state: “Our perception is that while the pain of LGBT people is spoken about in your report, we do not hear its authentic voice.”

They dismiss the view that any change to canons or doctrinal statements was expected or realistic, however, they added: “You might not have had to spend as much time explaining why if those other voices had been allowed to come through more clearly.”

Their letter, which was later signed by at least two serving bishops, came as pressure was mounting on whether Synod members should ‘take note’ of the report in the debate on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the evangelical group on Synod (EGGS) was urged to be honest about the ‘high levels of homophobia’ within the constituency.

The move came as the group was planning a vote on whether to approve the Evangelical Alliance document ‘Affirmations’, which takes a staunchly conservative stance. When it was adopted by the interdenominational EA, some evangelicals left or were ejected from the umbrella organisation.

The open letter to EGGS warned of the harm done by conversion therapy and the “desperate consequence for Christian mission of the Church’s teaching on sexuality”.

Jayne Ozanne, one of the signatories, explained that the letter had originally been signed by many other evangelicals on synod who were not members of EGGS: “The truth is that there are many evangelicals who do not believe in the hardline some conservatives are taking. We believe it is time for an open and honest debate amongst evangelicals about the different interpretations of scripture and the harm and damage done by some in the name of the Church.”

The letter has been made available for other evangelicals to sign as an expression of their support for the call to repentance and further debate

Meanwhile the Third Province Movement has called on the House of Bishops to “state firmly that marriage is the life-long union of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others until death do them part, as stated in the Book of Common Prayer.”

Mrs Margaret Brown, chair of the Movement and a former member of Synod, warned: “The Anglican Communion will be split and torn apart if the Church of England takes the wrong path.”

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