A group claiming to represent 1500 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transsexual clergy within the Church of England, is today holding an ‘Act Of Witness’ at the General Synod, it has been announced.
The LGB&T Anglican coalition say they want to ‘draw attention to the many hundreds of LGB&T clergy who minister faithfully across the Church of England despite the institutional prejudice and suspicion they often face, and on whom the Church of England relies.’
The coalition says it has calculated that at least 1500 licensed Anglican clergy are homosexual, including vicars, chaplains, and diocesan offcials, the group says that this accounts for over 13% of the total number of clergy.
In a statement, the coalition said: “London is home to a significant proportion with approximately 350 LGB&T licensed clergy -25% of the diocesan workforce, but snapshots of deaneries in other dioceses up and down the country have revealed significant numbers are typical.
“Research by the union Unite in 2008 also showed that over 20% of hospital chaplains have same sex partners and have moved into chaplaincy in part because they could be sure of equal treatment and support from their employer.”
But according to the coalition, these numbers are not fairly represented within the church, with homosexual clergy often facing ‘institutional prejudice and suspicion’.
The Revd Benny Hazlehurst (Chair of the LGBT Anglican Coalition said, "If all the LGB&T Clergy were to leave the Church of England, parochial and sector ministry in the Church of England would suffer major trauma, and the parish system in some parts of the country would face utter collapse."
Despite their numbers, many clergy feel they cannot speak openly about their sexual orientation, and the coalition says that this situation is made more difficult by the fact that the stance taken by Church of England Bishops, is inconsistent.
Some Bishops are willing to accept same sex relationships, while others prefer to ignore the issue.
February 9th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross