CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS ON GAY CLERGY (ONE LIBERAL AND ONE FUNDAMENTALIST) IN TWO LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCH OF IRELAND GAZETTE
25TH MARCH 2005

www.gazette.ireland.anglican.org

SUPPORT FOR GAY PEOPLE BY REVD ANDREW FURLONG

Synodswoman Susan Philips, writing in the Irish Times on 7th March, sincerely believes that there is one interpretation of scripture which is timeless, and consequently never out of date. She calls it biblical truth. Within the Church of Ireland, there are many clergy, as well as laity, who agree with her.

In a deeply divided House of Bishops, there are several bishops who do too. That such views are held in 21st century is an indictment of our church's failure to educate. Mainstream theologians today regard such a view of scripture as out of date; it belongs to what might be called the Morris Minor era of theological understanding.

I believe it would be affirming and refreshing if one courageous liberal bishop broke rank and said, 'I would encourage any priest in our diocese who has a gay orientation to come out, if he or she has not done so already. I would support him or her fully, and hope that he or she would find happiness and fulfilment with a partner of his or her choice, and I would fight against the criticisms of any parishioners who objected to the couple living together in the Rectory.'

Andrew Furlong (The Revd)

PRIMATES' MEETING BY REVD DONARD M. COLLINS

The 'Dromantine document' (March 2005) ended one of the most embarrassing weeks in Irish Anglicanism. BBC coverage of the Armagh Primates' Service presented more semblance of the dead dragged to their graves than saints marching to victory.

What cost was entailed for 35 Primates to meet at Dromantine? What expense accrued to implement the 2004 Windsor Report? Who pays for ongoing communiqués and sessions up to Lambeth 2008? Irish Romanism has shamed her bishops for squandering funds. Should not Church of Ireland parishes hold its archbishops and bishops to account for doing the same?

An untold cost is being borne by Anglicans, ashamed of leaders, who again caved in to the demands of homosexual proponents. Rather than offend ECUSA, Dromantine delegates side stepped the issue of godly discipline. Their three-year imposition on ECUSA is but a stalling for time.

I give four matters which Church of Ireland members can address.

1. The Dromantine conference had neither the right nor legitimacy to act or speak on behalf of millions of Anglican believers. 2. The Archbishop of Armagh should stop hosting the world and listen to the people who appointed him. We oppose all Anglican leadership (local or global) which permits practising homosexuals as pastors or bishops.

3. Representatives of each diocese of Ireland should petition their decision council and bishop to draft legislation for General Synod as follows:

"This diocese seeks to uphold the biblical, historical and traditional practice of the Church in all ages, that no known practising homosexual person be appointed to any office in the church, and that those already appointed repent of such practice or resign."

4. Every parish should request their annual vestry to agree to the above petition and forward it to their diocesan council for implementation.

We can learn a lesson from Rome. People in the pews can shame their bishops into action. I say again, of Anglican Irish bishops, their silence is their shame. No more of this disgrace, which offends the Lord and dishonours his Name!

Donard M. Collins (The Revd)
St John's Rectory, 4 Laurel Hill, Coleraine BT51 3AT, N.Ireland

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