Vicar resigns in opposition to Oxford Diocese same-sex guidelines

St Laurence, Appleton

An Anglican vicar has announced his resignation after becoming increasingly at odds with the Diocese of Oxford's guidance on same-sex issues. 

The Rev Ken Campbell, vicar of St Laurence Church, Appleton, near Abingdon, will step down from his role in January, the Oxford Times reports. 

The 53-year-old, who is originally from Scotland, said that bishops were "no longer fully committed to the Bible's teaching, particularly in the realm of sexual ethics". 

"While many things in life are simply a matter of personal preference and taste, this kind of relativism does not apply to Christian doctrine," he said.

"God himself has set controls and boundaries in place in order to keep his beloved people safe.

"Sadly this no longer seems to be the view of the bishops in our diocese." 

His decision is a response to an ad clerum letter by the Bishops of Oxford, Dorchester, Reading and Buckingham that sent to clergy and lay ministers last year outlining their position on human sexuality. 

In the letter, called "Clothed with Love", the bishops voiced their support for "an attitude of inclusion and respect for LGBTI+ people". 

It was met with strong opposition by conservative members of the clergy, with over a hundred clerics signing an open letter to the bishops in which they said they would consider alternative oversight. 

Rev Ken Campbell

Announcing his resignation, Rev Campbell said: "Over the last 10 months I have come to the conclusion (along with 100 clergy colleagues) that our bishops are no longer fully committed to the Bible's teaching, particularly in the realm of sexual ethics.

"In their ad clerum (a letter sent to all diocesan clergy and licensed lay ministers in October) the bishops signalled their departure from the historic Judaeo-Christian understanding of sexual ethics, according to which the boundaries of legitimate sexual activity are limited to monogamous heterosexual marriage."

A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford defended the ad clerum. 

"The letter, which is entirely consistent with the House of Bishops guidance on human sexuality, has generated many positive conversations and has been widely welcomed," the spokesman told the Oxford Times.

"The foundational principle of the letter is that all people are welcome in God's Church; everyone has a place at the table." 

The Church of England is in the middle of a review process into Christian beliefs on human sexuality called Living in Love and Faith, the findings of which are due to be published early next year.

Rev Campbell is expected to leave his post as rector of St Laurence's on 19 January 2020.