Lambeth must settle the issue

A fascinating piece in today’s Telegraph where Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, made it very clear that Lambeth 2008 shouldn’t duck the issue of homosexuality.

A Church of England bishop has criticised the Lambeth Conference, which starts in July, for shying away from the issue of homosexuality.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said it would be “odd” and “irresponsible” for the meeting to sweep the controversy “under the carpet”.

There are no plans for a major public debate on the issue of gay clergy and much of the conference will take place behind closed doors.

Many bishops, including moderates, fear that divisions will deepen unless the issue of homosexuality is confronted.

Bishop McCulloch criticised conservative bishops who are threatening a boycott because the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has invited American liberals.

Dr Williams is hoping that the gathering of Anglican bishops will foster unity, but the conservatives are planning an “alternative Lambeth” in Jerusalem a few weeks earlier. About 15 other Anglican bishops have been invited.

Bishop McCulloch wrote in, Crux, his diocesan magazine: “However deep family arguments and differences are, we ought to be following the New Testament pattern of meeting together to pray, to learn, to eat and to share.

“The first Lambeth Conference was called in the wake of controversy; and it would be exceedingly odd – even irresponsible – for the bishops to avoid, and appear to sweep under the carpet, the very issues that are currently inhibiting our common witness to Christ across the world.”

The Anglican Communion Office, which organises the conference that takes place every 10 years, declined to comment.

Interesting eh? McCulloch is hardly an outspoken orthodox bishop, but he realises like many others that the issues around TEC’s promotion of the gay agenda must be handled at Canterbury in July and August. To not do so would be to let the wound continue to fester and to promote, not dampen, schism.

Posted in Anglican Communion, Church of England