Anglican conservatives rally support for traditionalists with online letter

Conservative Anglicans have begun gathering support for a 'Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism' following the publication of a letter complaining of the treatment of traditionalists and warning the Church of England may split over sexuality issues.

The letter published in the Daily Telegraph was signed by senior figures including the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, and the former Queen's Chaplain, Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden.

Jayne Ozanne introduced a motion at the Church of England's General Synod condemning conversion therapy.

It is now available online and more signatures have been added.

The letter said decisions by the General Synod – the Church of England's equivalent to a parliament – on issues connected with human sexuality had caused 'great concern' among Anglicans: 'There are times, particularly in the face of social disintegration, when it is the duty of the Church to be counter-cultural.'

The letter adds that the 'booing of traditionalists' and the 'personal abuse' that they endured at the synod had 'deepened mistrust' between the two camps.

A Church of England spokesman said in response: 'As with any debating chamber, synod often debates controversial issues and members can sometimes disagree strongly with each other. That is the nature of debate. If there is an issue the Chair will intervene. The expectation is that Synod members are courteous at all times both to each other and invited guests.'

However, one signatory, Rev James Paice, told Christian Today: 'The Church of England response to this unprecedented letter is woeful and does not deal with the concerns expressed at all.

'Jesus came to save us from our sins, not so that we debate nicely about redefining morality. Jesus came to give us an eternal hope and transform us by his Holy Spirit into his likeness.

'This response of management-speak is precisely why this letter has been issued.'

He said he foresaw a 'summer of holy discontent' with more people signing the letter online.

Decisions taken at the synod rejecting so-called 'gay cure' therapies aimed at altering people's sexuality and requesting the bishops to consider liturgies marking the transition of transgender people led to a backlash among conservatives, which some parishes reducing or withholding the money they contribute to their dioceses.

A letter from the parochial church council (PCC) of St John's Church in Hull to the Archbishop of York criticised him for remarks made during one of the debates and said it 'no no longer has any confidence in the Archbishop of York in "all things spiritual" and requests that he expresses repentance for what took place'.

It continued: 'The PCC has also been grieved by the general direction of the Synod and the appalling manner in which those who hold to the teachings of Jesus have been ridiculed, mocked and scorned.'

It says the PCC will 'withhold its free will offering until further notice'.

The church's vicar Rev Melvyn Tinker is one of the signatories to the Telegraph letter.