Press Release:

An open letter to evangelicals has called for an honest admission about the high levels of homophobia within the evangelical community, the harm done by conversion therapy and the “desperate consequence for Christian mission of the Church’s teaching on sexuality”.

The letter has been sent to all members of the Evangelical Group on General Synod (EGGS) ahead of a key discussion and vote as to whether the group, which has an influential voice in the General Synod, approves the staunchly conservative Evangelical Alliances “Affirmations”.

Signed by five affirming EGGS members, who believe that scripture endorses same sex relationships, the letter asks for an open debate about three critical questions – what is the good news for LGBT people, how does it respond to the mounting scientific evidence about sexuality and how does it deal with the reality of LGBT families in their churches.

Jayne Ozanne, one of the signatories, explained that the letter had originally been signed by many other evangelicals on synod who were not members of EGGS: “The truth is that there are many evangelicals who do not believe in the hardline some conservatives are taking.  We believe it is time for an open and honest debate amongst evangelicals about the different interpretations of scripture and the harm and damage done by some in  the name of the Church.”

The letter has been made available for other evangelicals to sign as an expression of their support for the call to repentance and further debate

It forms part of a raft of initiatives from affirming evangelicals during the February Group of Sessions to help evangelical engage with the divisive topic of sexuality.  The vicar of an evangelical church that was attended by Lizzie Lowe, a young teenager who committed suicide in September 2013, will address a fringe meeting at lunchtime on Tuesday 14th February. “In Memory of Lizzie” will look at how the Revd Dr Nick Bundock led his church through a period of repentance and reflection to becoming a beacon of inclusion for evangelicals.

On Tuesday evening the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Prof Sir Simon Wessely, along with senior academics Prof Chris Cook, Dr Qazi Rahman and Dr Joanna Semlyen, will address another fringe led by Prof Robert Song on the “academic insights” regarding gender and sexuality.
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