Retired Bishops’ Letter – Feb 2017

Montage 14

Following the publication of the House of Bishops’ Report on Same-Sex Relationships, Jayne approached the Rt Revd Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester, to see if he and his colleagues might help give voice to the significant concerns about the report.

Together they approached thirteen other retired Church of England bishops, namely:

The Rt Revd Dr David Atkinson, formerly Bishop of Thetford

The Rt Revd Michael Doe, formerly Bishop of Swindon

The Rt Revd Dr Timothy Ellis, formerly Bishop of Grantham

The Rt Revd David Gillett, formerly Bishop of Bolton

The Rt Revd John Gladwin, formerly Bishop of Guildford and of Chelmsford

The Rt Revd Dr Laurie Green, formerly Bishop of Bradwell

The Rt Revd the Lord Harries of Pentregarth, formerly Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, formerly Bishop of Hulme

The Rt Revd Dr Stephen Platten, formerly Bishop of Wakefield

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, formerly Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Dr Peter Selby, formerly Bishop of Worcester

The Rt Revd Tim Stevens, formerly Bishop of Leicester

The Rt Revd Roy Williamson, formerly Bishop of Bradford and of Southwark

The Rt Revd Martin Wharton CBE, formerly Bishop of Newcastle

The fourteen agreed a robust letter that clearly articulated their concerns – in particular, that a report that did not allow the authentic voice of LGBT people to be heard or the real theological argument to be advanced would not enable the church to engage credibly with wider society..

The letter was circulated to all bishops within the Church of England on February 11th 2017 ahead of the General Synod’s debate on the Same-Sex Marriage Report.

On February 15th 2017 the debate was lost, with Synod refusing to take note of the report.

The letter was then made available for the public to sign, and within a week one serving bishop, a further nine retired Anglican and bishops and over 720 people had also signed it.

The initiative attracted significant media attention ahead of the General Synod’s meeting:

Church Faces New Split over Attitude to Gay Relationships– The Observer, February 11th 2017

Church of England accused of ignoring ‘authentic’ voice of LGBT people – ITV News, February 11th 2017

Church of England “not listening to Gay Christians”, say retired bishops – BBC News, February 12th 2017

“They feel betrayed” – retired bishops have criticised the Church for not listening to gay people – The Sun, February 12th 2017

Anglicans braced for new clashes over gay marriage in church – Telegraph, February 11th 2017

Church faces gay marriage defeat – The Times, February 13th 2017

Church’s Gay Marriage Stance Challenged By Retired Bishops – Christian Today, February 12th 2017

Church of England’s homosexuality guidance criticised by retired bishops – Daily Mail, February 12th 2017

Church facing new battle over attitude to LGBT members ahead of General Synod – Independent, February 12th 2017

Former bishops slam Church of England’s stance on homosexuality – Evening Standard, February 12th 2017

Retired bishops take their successors to task over sexuality report – Church Times, February 13th 2017

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