Saturday, September 3, 2016 6:54 pm
The Bishop of Grantham, Nicholas Chamberlain, has become the first ever bishop in the Church of England to state publicly that he is in a gay relationship.
Bishops are permitted to be in same-sex relationships provided that they are celibate and they do not marry, and Chamberlain’s sexuality had not been kept a secret from the Church.
“My sexual identity is part of who I am, but it’s the ministry that matters”Bishop of Grantham
However, when a Sunday newspaper threatened to reveal his relationship status, he decided to talk publicly.
“It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out,” he said. “People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone.”
Speaking to the Guardian, he said he expected the news to create “ripples” in the church.
He added: “My sexual identity is part of who I am, but it’s the ministry that matters.”
Archbishop of Canterbury’
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was “fully aware” of Dr Chamberlain’s “long-term, committed relationship”.
“His appointment as Bishop of Grantham was made on the basis of his skills and calling to serve the church in the Diocese of Lincoln,” he added.
“He lives within the Bishops’ guidelines and his sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office.”
While the announcement may not be embraced by conservative members of the church, in an official statement the Church of England emphasised its support for Dr Chamberlain.
A spokesman said: “The Church has said for some time that it would be unjust to exclude from consideration for the episcopate anyone seeking to live fully in conformity with the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline.
“Whilst Bishop Nick’s appointment is notable in the gifts and talents that he brings to the episcopate, it is wholly consistent and unexceptional in other regards given the testing of that call by those responsible for the selection process in each case.”
Credit: The Telegraph