Statement following the meeting of Anglican Primates last week

Simon Harvey made this statement at our eleven o'clock service today.

You may have read or heard reports in the last few days about the meeting of archbishops from across the Anglican church. They met to consider what to do in response to the American Episcopal Church’s decision to allow same-sex marriage.

The statement that the archbishops agreed on Thursday was quite a technical one. What I and many other people found difficult was what it didn’t say. It didn’t acknowledge the pain that gay and lesbian people have experienced through the way that they have been treated in the churches. It didn’t say anything about the welcome and love that the church has failed to show all people.

I’m pleased that on Friday a much better statement was issued. In the press conference that followed (reported here), our archbishop Justin Welby apologised in these words, “It’s a constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality. I want to take this opportunity personally to say how sorry I am for the hurt and pain, in the past and present, that the church has caused and the love that we at times completely failed to show, and still do, in many parts of the world including in this country.”

I want to be clear that St Mary’s has for decades been blessed by the membership of gay and lesbian people, often in significant leadership roles. There are of course differences among us on these issues, but I want to repeat something that I’ve said from this microphone before. Gay and lesbian people are welcome here. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

If anyone would like to talk further with me about this or share their thoughts with me, do please pick up the phone or send me an email.