It appears that the appointment of Bishop Stephen Cottrell, the current Bishop of Chelmsford, as the next Archbishop of York is a controversial one.
At least five conservative clergy have resigned their positions in recent months and others have spoken publicly of how they are used to being told they “don’t belong.”
In March 2017, Bishop Stephen addressed the Diocesan Synod. He began by reminding the clergy that he was their Father in God and that they, and other licensed ministers, had made him an oath of canonical obedience. Then he developed his main theme – the radical inclusion of the LGBT community, including the suitability of prayers of thanksgiving for a same-sex relationship in the context of the Eucharist.
In the interview above the Rev John Parker, explains how he, and others, sought to contend for a more biblical perspective.
“To be faithful to the words of Jesus I cannot be in fellowship with those who twist and change the grace of God into a license to do whatever they want…”
The Rev John Parker resigned his license in May 2019.
Bishop Stephen has consistently denied that he has told those who disagree with his approach to matters of sexuality that they could leave. However, many clergy would disagree and some felt they needed to respond to the Bishop’s claims, in a statement earlier this year,
“We noticed it was carefully worded,” said Kieran Bush, Vicar of St John’s, Walthamstow. “It gave the impression that the Bishop had never suggested that John Parker should leave the Church of England. The truth is that Stephen Cottrell has, on more than one occasion, told clergy, including John Parker, that if we disagree with the approach the Diocese is taking on matters of human sexuality we should follow our consciences and leave. There were more than thirty clergy at one of the meetings.”
On hearing about the appointment Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester and President of Gafcon UK, said, “We need to pray for the Church of England and for Bishop Stephen at this time because I am very concerned that someone who has openly argued and worked for a change in the Church’s teaching on human sexuality should have been nominated to such a senior position. I urge Bishop Stephen to publicly affirm the teaching of the Bible, the universal teaching of the Church, the Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 and the 1987 Resolution of General Synod on matters of sexuality. Without this, orthodox believers in the CofE will have to ask what place there is in this church for them”.
Read more at gafconuk.org/news