Belfast Telegraph

Church of Ireland's gay row 'puts unity in danger'

By Alf McCreary

The Church of Ireland Gazette has expressed concern that plans by bishops for a study of same-sex relationships in the Church “could be a charter for years-long argumentation”.

The Gazette, which retains an independent stance in the Church, also expressed fears that the issue could “imperil” the very unity of the Church of Ireland itself.

The current controversy arose after the disclosure that the Dean of Leighlin, the Very Reverend Tom Gordon, entered into a civil partnership this summer with his companion of 20 years.

Evangelicals are also concerned that the Dean was appointed by Bishop Michael Burrows with full knowledge of the relationship.

Last week the House of Bishops issued a statement and a pastoral letter after a private three-day meeting.

They agreed to consider the issue further, and urged Church members to refrain from actions or words which might exacerbate the situation.

However, the Gazette pointed out that the controversy has faced the worldwide Anglican Communion for over a decade.

It said that while consultation during this period bought more time, the availability of more time “turns out to have been precisely not what was needed” with the Anglican Communion having reached “breaking point”.

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