St Helen’s Bishopsgate “Pauses Contributions to Common Fund”

St Helen’s Bishopsgate “Pauses Contributions to Common Fund”

The Standing Committee of the PCC of St Helen’s Bishopsgate has written to the Bishop of London to make plain their theological opposition to the proposed same-sex blessings proffered by the House of Bishops.

St Helen’s is a leading conservative evangelical congregation which also holds complementarian views about the ordination of women.

Their views are based on biblical and pastoral concerns for their members.

In the letter, dated 30 January of this year, signed by William Taylor (Rector), Jeremy Anderson CBE, Andrew Ross, Paul Simpkin and Andrew Wales they clearly explained the parish’s opposition.

They wrote:

“Three aspects cause us particular concern.

First, as you know, for many years the St Helen’s Church family has been a safe place for a significant number who live with same sex attraction, but who seek to live a celibate life in accordance with God’s commands. They are greatly encouraged by knowing that they are loved and included within the body of Christ at St Helen’s. The pastoral damage from the House of Bishops decisions for these members of Christ’s flock is very significant. We have been hearing since the announcement about how they are being affected personally by it.

Secondly, we find the House of Bishops’ Report to be disingenuous. It pays lip service to the Church of England’s doctrine of marriage, while commending a means by which, in practical terms, the doctrine of marriage may be circumvented and undermined. It is a pretence to suggest that these prayers neither equate with the blessing of same sex marriage, nor contravene the Church of England’s doctrine of marriage. Even within the press conference last Friday, the bishops on the panel, including yourself, contradicted many of the claims made in the Report.

Thirdly, the autocratic nature of the process appears to have bypassed the elected clergy and laity of the General Synod.

We find it deeply disturbing that, as the diocesan bishop, you made clear in your answers to questions that you expect that same sex, sexual, relationships will be blessed by clergy in the Church of England.”

The letter went on to say later, “Whilst we await developments and give prayerful consideration to our response, the PCC has asked us to pause our current contributions to Common Fund.”

The English Churchman has seen a letter expressing similar opposition by the PCC of All Souls’ Langham Place but has yet been able to confirm its authenticity.