If you would like to submit a contribution to our Readers Blog section then follow this link. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact number otherwise your submission will not be considered for publication. We will contact you prior to publication.

Church of Ireland Synod resolution on same-sex relationships unacceptable

As Church of Ireland members, who are lesbian, gay or bisexual, we were not consulted as the Bishop of Down and Dromore and Archbishop of Dublin drafted the resolutions on sexuality before General Synod this week, which stigmatises any sexual relationship outside opposite-sex marriage as not ‘normative’.

Had we been, we would have been clear that writing 655 words about people in same-gender relationships without one good thing to say about us is unacceptable.

By stating faithfulness within marriage is the only ‘normative’ context for sex, Resolution 8A imposes a condition that people in faithful same-gender relationships cannot comply with. The implication that members of the Church in relationships other than marriage are in breach of the Catechism gives legitimacy, for the first time, to excluding lay people in same-gender relationships from Holy Communion.

At the conference on homosexuality in March, some clergy said they refused the Sacrament to people in faithful same-gender relationships. The bishops have done nothing to challenge such behaviour yet claim the right to lecture us about our relationships with the people we love.

Resolution 8A provides a pretext to launch witch-hunts against gay clergy in liberal dioceses.

Although Resolution 8A has been drafted to say all things to all people, once an official statement of policy is passed, the intentions of its drafters are irrelevant. History is littered with motions and legislation that functioned in ways contrary to the wishes of their drafters.

Nine years ago, our bishops promised to start listening to us. This year, they see fit to table high-handed motions at General Synod while kicking the long-promised listening process into touch for another year.

These resolutions should have been brought through the normal democratic procedures of the Church of Ireland, but were not. They have been sprung upon members of General Synod allowing no time for wider debate in the Church. By doing so, those bishops disrespect our Church’s democracy. Putting off this debate for a year or two to allow real listening will hardly kill us.

There is a culture of fear in parts of the Church of Ireland, especially for clergy. That is why some of us can only sign this letter anonymously.

Jeff Dudgeon,

Sen David Norris,

Canon Ian Sherwood, and

Gerry Lynchon

behalf of 19 other signatories (names with editor)

Donore Court

Belfast

BT15 2EZ


Lifestyle

More time indoors is a chance to consider how we buy for our homes without being slaves to fleeting trends, writes Carol O’CallaghanMore time at home offers a chance to consider how we buy for our interiors

Award-winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw share 10 of the best container plants. By Hannah Stephenson.10 of the best plants for pots

A slimmed-down Irish couple has written a bestselling cookery book featuring healthy versions of indulgent meals, says Clodagh Finn.The Daly Dish serves up healthy version of our favourite meals

David Brophy's new choir and a classic Ireland v Holland game feature among today's top tips.Thursday's TV Highlights: David Brophy's new choir and a classic Ireland v Holland game

More From The Irish Examiner