Gay Christians Warned Not To Expect Change Soon After CofE Votes Down Sexuality Report

LGBT Christians are being warned not to expect change on the Church of England's teaching on gay marriage.

On the morning after the CofE's general assembly threw out a report by bishops keeping its conservative line on gay marriage, synod was told Church leaders 'are not up to the task of resolving' the deep divisions.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon is the secretary general of the Anglican CommunionChurch of Ireland Gazette

Top Anglican bishop, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, from the deeply conservative Nigeria province in the Church, said the level of fissure was 'not easily resolved' and called on gay Christians to set aside those 'difficult matters for now'.

Remaining part of the global church means dropping the idea of change on gay couples, he said.

'This may mean setting aside certain difficult matters for now; it may mean self-restraint of a sacrificial kind for now; it may mean patience of a painful kind for now,' he added.

In his address as secretary general of the worldwide Anglican Communion he said: 'There is no one way to thread this needle at the moment.'

He told the Church of England that for their Anglican counterparts in Nigeria, 'the single most pressing issue around human sexuality is the criminalisation of homosexuality'.

He warned violence and abuse against gay people was supported by many in Nigerian communities in a stark reminder of the vast difference in attitudes between the different Anglican churches around the world.

The speech came as synod was reeling from the shock defeat of a bishops' report that kept the Church's conservative line on marriage.

After more than two years and more than £380,000 of internal discussions the bishops said there was 'little support' for a teaching change on gay relationships.

This prompted outrage from liberal members who launched a campaign to strike the report down.

But it also called for 'maximum freedom' for gay couples within current laws and called for 'a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support' for LGBT people.

This was too far for some conservative members with Susie Leafe, director of Reform grouping on synod, one of a number to vote against it.

But speaking during the debate the Archbishop of Canterbury promised bishops 'will seek to do better' as he called for a 'remarkable' new teaching document on CofE's position on marriage.

'We are going to move on and find a radical new inclusion based in love, based in our Christian understanding careless neither of our theology nor ignorant of the world around us,' he said.

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