Bishop's trip stopped over views on gays

THE Bishop of Chelmsford has been left “saddened and surprised” after he and 20 clergy were abandoned in Africa when the Archbishop of Kenya discovered his liberal views on gays.

THE Bishop of Chelmsford has been left “saddened and surprised” after he and 20 clergy were abandoned in Africa when the Archbishop of Kenya discovered his liberal views on gays.

The Right Reverend John Gladwin was in the middle of a tour of Kenya, hosted by the country's Anglian Church, when he was told hospitality had been “withdrawn”.

The two-week trip was meant to strengthen the 20-year links between the dioceses of Embu, Mbeere, Kirinyaga and Meru in Kenya and Chelmsford.

Bishop John and the group from the Chelmsford Diocese are now staying in a hotel in Embu, a diocese to the north east of Nairobi.


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The bishop was named this month as one of four new patrons of Changing Attitude, the campaigning group that aims for equality of opportunity for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the Anglican Church.

But the Anglican Church in Kenya is part of a group known as the Global South - directly opposed to a liberalisation of the church's teaching about homosexuality.

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The Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Reverend Benjamin Nzimbi , said in a statement that the Kenyan Church was “unable to continue with advancing the lined-up activities with the diocese of Chelmsford”.

A statement from Changing Attitude said: “Bishop John was greatly surprised and saddened by this response, as the visit is wholly devoted to the building up of the links between the dioceses.

“Bishop John and the group he has been leading have hugely benefited from visiting the churches in Kenya.”

The Reverend Christopher Newlands, chaplain to Bishop John, and not part of the Kenya visit, said the development was “deeply to be regretted”.

He said: “They are in a hotel at the moment and we are trying to see what we can do to recover the planned programme and make the best possible use of their time out there.

“Clearly we are doing everything we can from this end and in Kenya to try to heal the problems that have arisen over this misunderstanding about what working on Changing Attitude means and what the Lambeth Resolutions call us to do - listening to the experiences of lesbian and gay people in the church.”

A statement issued on behalf of Bishop John by Mr Newlands said: “I hope that we can get over this misunderstanding and make clear our determination to carry forward the Lambeth Resolutions and to learn how God is at work in all his people in England and in Kenya.”

Bishop John, who is also the chairman of the board of Christian Aid, is due to visit Christian Aid in Nairobi in the coming days.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

n Changing Attitude is the campaigning group aiming for equality of opportunity for lesbian, gay and bisexuals in the Anglican Church.

n The Diocese of Embu is in a wild and remote area of Kenya and limited mobile phone reception has reportedly meant there has been little contact with Bishop John.

n According to go2africa.com, there is not much to see or do in the area and “not many travellers hang about”.

n The failed trip was more than a year in planning and follows a cancelled visit to Trinidad and Tobago after an invitation was withdrawn due to Bishop John's support for gays.

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