The Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, giving the keynote address today at the national conference of MoSAIC, has spoken out clearly in favour of equal marriage and full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQIA+ people in the Church of England.
This is the first time in recent years that a serving diocesan bishop has broken ranks to call for a genuinely radical Christian inclusion and an end to the Church’s discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people. Let’s hope other bishops will have the courage to do likewise.
There is an excellent report on Bishop Paul’s address in The Observer: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/26/church-of-england-should-recognise-same-sex-marriage-says-bishop.
The full text of the address, entitled ‘Sex on the Brain’, is reproduced as an article here; below are some highlights to whet your appetite!
My kids’ generation, and the generations younger than my kids which include now the youngest generation of the ordained, are bewildered and amazed that we can’t seem to stop having sex on the brain.
As I grow older and the arc of my own ministry draws close to its end, I am glad to be able to speak wholeheartedly for a vision of Christian community that does not stink of oppression or of hypocrisy in the nostrils of the world.
I want to see a gender-neutral marriage canon, such as they have in the Episcopal Church or in the Scottish Episcopal Church. And as a necessary but not sufficient first step I want to see conscientious freedom for the Church’s ministers and local leaders to honour, recognise and, yes indeed, to bless same-sex unions whether civil partnerships or civil marriages.
I want to see an abolition of the foolishness that sees the call to ordained ministry as a call to a state morally higher than that of the baptised, as though baptism called us to a lesser holiness. I want to see an end to LGBTQ+ people hiding who they are for fear of being exposed to conversion therapy or to being forbidden to minister in churches. I want to see an end to the inquisition of ordinands about their private lives.