Conversations with many people involved with the church in different parts of the country, from lay people young and old to ordinands, priests and bishops show me that the mindset of the Church of England at local, parish level is almost certainly open to the presence of LGBTI+ people and probably thinks that we would feel welcome and comfortable in their congregation, whether or not they were signed up as an Inclusive Church. The number of parishes aligned with Forward in Faith, GAFCON, Reform, AMiE and the bishop of Maidstone is 726. The total number of parishes in the Church of England is 12,600; 11,874 are not affiliated with either conservative catholic or evangelical networks.
I am writing the same article over and over again because the Church of England establishment doesn’t see just how homophobic the church is. By ‘The Church of England establishment’ I mean the House and College of Bishops, the staff at Church House, Lambeth Palace and Bishopsthorpe, the Archbishops’ Council, and the courtiers appointed by or working under the jurisdiction of these bodies. By a systemically homophobic culture I mean one that is unaware of the abusive effect the hierarchy and the teaching and practice of the church has on LGBTI bishops, clergy and laity, friends and families, congregations, and on those who observe the church from the outside.
I have written a letter to Graham Tilby, the National Safeguarding Adviser, asking the Safeguarding Team to investigate the Bishop of Maidstone, Reform, the Church Society, and Christian Concern as key instigators of abusive and homophobic teaching and practice in the Church of England. Spiritual abuse is now recognised as one of the most serious manifestations of homophobia and prejudice against LGBTI people. The letter is copied to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the bishops of Newcastle (Pastoral Advisory Group) and Bath and Wells (the lead bishop for safeguarding).