The Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Richard Clarke has denied that the creation of a Select Committee to consider same-sex relationships and human sexuality is an attempt by the Church to “stall” on handling this contentious issue.
At a General Synod press conference in Armagh he told reporters: “The subject of same-sex relationships is desperately divisive but we are trying to approach it in a systematic way.
“The creation of a Select Committee is not an attempt to kick anything into the long grass. If we rush things, people will want to think of ‘winning or losing’ but that is not the way the spirit of God works.
“ This is a time for people to listen generously to one another. It is no a stalling process, and I would not want to a party to anything which is evolved in this way.”
The Archbishop, who holds a traditional view of marriage, also said: “I have to be prepared to listen intently to the views of others. I have to be ready to the possibility of my mind and spirit being changed, and others will have to do likewise.”
A sixteen-person Select Committee was appointed by the General Synod for two years to“ enable listening dialogue and learning... on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief.”
However, Gerry Lynch, the co-chair of the pro gay group Changing Attitude Ireland, told the Belfast Telegraph: “We have to talk about this in a serious and structured way as a Church, but I regret that there are no representatives of the lesbian and gay community on the Select Committee.
“It is a worrying sign that no lessons have been learned about the exclusion of gay people in the Church. The membership of the Select Committee is a bit like appointing a committee on race relations with an all-white membership.”