By now I sense my non-church readers saying, "You what? What are you going on about?" Which I understand. To put it politely it seems arcane and irrelevant. In the end, I forced myself to look at the GAFCON document, and to my mind it is arcane but also distasteful. To put it simply, it creates an easily accessible and well advertised list of gay men and women serving the Church. It is true these folk don't hide their sexuality, but it is the clear intention of the document to expose them to condemning conservative eyes. The Church of England is a surprisingly tolerant church. For example many clergy on the conservative end of the spectrum often failed to wear the prescribed clothes for taking services or to observe the rules about saying services every day in church. But they didn't get into trouble as a result. Church rules change - usually because custom has changed, or because society has changed.
I gather that by the time I read the document its numerous inaccuracies had been corrected or footnoted. Even so, in one footnote about which I knew something the original inaccuracy had merely been amended into an innuendo starting "According to some reports...". A simple look at the organisation in question's would have been enough to confirm its pastoral and supportive nature. I hesitated about whether I should say anything and in the end decided to write to some bishops, in order to make it clear that although my background and theology is, I suspect, near to the tradition of GAFCON, not all of us feel the same about this issue.
Some of what I wrote follows:
"I simply want to make it clear that not all conservative evangelicals agree with the line which GAFCON represents. I would like to celebrate, both personally and as a Church, genuine lifelong vows of commitment of heterosexual and homosexual couples. I want to affirm Christ-like self-giving love."
Let me add my usual final caveat. I am not a theologian. Don't be persuaded on this or any other issue by me. Listen to the still small voice within. It is entirely possible that I may be mistaken, but not, I believe, in upholding the overwhelming imperative of love.