NEWLY installed Bishop of Limerick, Tuam and Killaloe Michael Burrows was one of only two Church of Ireland Bishops to approve a document affirming same-sex relationships at the recent Lambeth Conference in England.
The conference, which usually takes place in Canterbury every ten years, was attended by bishops of the 85 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion including ten bishops from the Church of Ireland.
The primates of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda, representing about 30 million Anglicans, boycotted the assembly over the ordination in 2004 of gay man Gene Robinson as Bishop of the US diocese of New Hampshire.
Addressing the same-sex issue at the conference, leader of Anglicans worldwide and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, affirmed the validity of a 1998 declaration that gay sex was “incompatible with scripture”.
However, he said he would not seek to discipline or exclude churches that conduct or bless same-sex marriages.
Bishop Burrows and Bishop Paul Colton of Cork, Cloyne and Ross were the only Church of Ireland signatories to a document affirming that they believe LGBT+ people are a precious part of God’s creation and recognise that many LGBT+ people have been wounded by the church.
The document also affirmed “the holiness of love wherever it is found in committed relationships” and committed the signatories to “working with our siblings across the communion to listen to their stories and understand their contexts, which vary greatly”.
They also would “never shy away from tackling discrimination and prejudice against those of differing sexualities and gender identities”.