Row over bishops’ gay marriage letter

A10 Week 42'MCBH'DP'Ceremony to mark restoration of the Boer War memorial on Coombe Hill and dedication of the new plaque - Pictured is The Bishop of Buckingham performing the rededication
A10 Week 42'MCBH'DP'Ceremony to mark restoration of the Boer War memorial on Coombe Hill and dedication of the new plaque - Pictured is The Bishop of Buckingham performing the rededication
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THE Bishop of Buckingham was one of several leading churchmen to come under fire from evangelical groups this week after sending a joint letter to The Times saying the Church of England has, ‘nothing to fear’ from same-sex marriages.

The April 21 letter, signed by 15 people including the Rt Rev Alan Wilson, was criticised by the Core Issues and Anglican Mainstream evangelical groups.

A10 Week 42'MCBH'DP'Ceremony to mark restoration of the Boer War memorial on Coombe Hill and dedication of the new plaque - Pictured is The Bishop of Buckingham performing the rededication

A10 Week 42'MCBH'DP'Ceremony to mark restoration of the Boer War memorial on Coombe Hill and dedication of the new plaque - Pictured is The Bishop of Buckingham performing the rededication

The Times letter began: “A number of recent statements by church leaders past and present may have given the mistaken impression that the Church is universally opposed to the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.

“We believe that does not adequately reflect the range of opinion which exists within the Church of England.”

The letter went on to say, “We welcome current moves by the House of Bishops to consider again its view of civil partnerships and human sexuality.

“We hope this will lead to a recognition of God’s grace at work in same-sex partnerships and call on the Church to engage in theological discussion and prayerful reflection on the nature of marriage.”

Criticising the ‘rebel liberal bishops’, the evangelical groups said they were, “...seeking to impose a neo-pagan worldview that reflects what are merely their personal opinions, and would unacceptably redefine Judeo-Christian belief.”

Canon Dr Chris Sugden, spokesman for Anglican Mainstream, said: “The view expressed by some senior serving clergy, and retired bishops, would redefine Christian belief.”

Core Issues was behind the Not Gay! bus posters recently banned by London Mayor Boris Johnson.