Big decision over new priest for Sussex gay community

First published in News by

A ground breaking scheme to appoint a priest for the county’s gay community is being considered.

Church of England bosses in Sussex are viewing the move as a way to reach out to the large LGBT community.

If approved, it would be the first position of its type in the country.

Campaigners welcomed the scheme as a sign of progress towards equality in the church.

Dr Keith Sharpe, chairman of Changing Attitude Sussex, which campaigns for LGBT equality in the Anglican Church, said: “As the established church of the land, the Church of England has a pastoral care for everybody, and in the Diocese of Chichester this includes a very large LGBT community, particularly in Brighton and Hove.

“While many parish churches are open and welcoming towards gay people, what is needed is a specific designated priest who can act as a bridge between the church and our community.

“There is alienation from the church among gay people because of what some church leaders have said, and there is a lack of understanding of what it is like to be LGBT among the churches.

“I see the role as helping each side better understand the other, for the benefit of both and the whole community.

“This would be a first for Brighton, as there is no priestly post operating in this way anywhere else.

Future model

“It could be a model for other areas with big LGBT populations to copy.”

The idea was put forward by Dr Sharpe and Father David Clues, of St Bartholomew’s Church, Brighton.

It comes just weeks after Henry Ware became the new Bishop of Chichester, the head of the Church of England in Sussex.

Douglas McKittrick, Archdeacon of Chichester, said: “The clergy who serve in the Church of England’s parishes in Brighton have a commitment to honouring the LGBT community that form an important part of this city.

“In Brighton we are talking with representatives from the LGBT community and with representatives of other groups, as well as those within the Diocese.

“The determination to serve all people equally remains at the heart of our mission.”

The news comes as Downing Street looks set to fast-track legislation for equal marriage in churches.

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Comments (8)

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6:02pm Tue 11 Dec 12

eastendpriest says...

As Bishop Henry Ware died in 1420 I'm quite sure he as not recently been (re) appointed Bishop of Chichester.

Perhaps you mean Dr Martin Warner?
As Bishop Henry Ware died in 1420 I'm quite sure he as not recently been (re) appointed Bishop of Chichester. Perhaps you mean Dr Martin Warner? eastendpriest
  • Score: 1

6:47pm Tue 11 Dec 12

sussexram40 says...

He should have a big moustache so the community can relate to him. Also he should do his shopping in St James's Street and drink in The Bulldog.I think it's a silly idea. I don't see how appointing separate priests for gay people halps equality at all. Quite the opposite. My view is that a persons sexuality should be irrelevent - but not when I get chatted up. Stunning hot babes only please!
He should have a big moustache so the community can relate to him. Also he should do his shopping in St James's Street and drink in The Bulldog.I think it's a silly idea. I don't see how appointing separate priests for gay people halps equality at all. Quite the opposite. My view is that a persons sexuality should be irrelevent - but not when I get chatted up. Stunning hot babes only please! sussexram40
  • Score: 1

7:57pm Tue 11 Dec 12

Crystal Ball says...

So the LGBT community hop up and down when they are not 'included' but this will only create further distancing from the overall population.
So the LGBT community hop up and down when they are not 'included' but this will only create further distancing from the overall population. Crystal Ball
  • Score: 1

8:32pm Tue 11 Dec 12

John Steed says...

completely wrong idea, being LGBT should not involve special clergy, they should be able to happily integrate with any existing congregation, after all we are all equal in the eyes of the lord
completely wrong idea, being LGBT should not involve special clergy, they should be able to happily integrate with any existing congregation, after all we are all equal in the eyes of the lord John Steed
  • Score: 1

12:04am Wed 12 Dec 12

Mr Sworld says...

John Steed wrote:
completely wrong idea, being LGBT should not involve special clergy, they should be able to happily integrate with any existing congregation, after all we are all equal in the eyes of the lord
Unless you want to be a female bishop of course. 0_o
[quote][p][bold]John Steed[/bold] wrote: completely wrong idea, being LGBT should not involve special clergy, they should be able to happily integrate with any existing congregation, after all we are all equal in the eyes of the lord[/p][/quote]Unless you want to be a female bishop of course. 0_o Mr Sworld
  • Score: 0

8:06am Wed 12 Dec 12

Angryoldman says...

The bible condemns homosexuality and even calls for death of gays. Why would any right minded gay person want to follow a church that hates them and see's them as 'an abomination.' (Gods words not mine)
I'm just glad the new census has shown religion to be dying on its back side. Sky fairies for people who cant handle the fact that one day they will be worm food.
Santa clause for adults that can’t think for themselves.
Religion is a state sanctioned mental illness that lies to people in order to control them.
The bible condemns homosexuality and even calls for death of gays. Why would any right minded gay person want to follow a church that hates them and see's them as 'an abomination.' (Gods words not mine) I'm just glad the new census has shown religion to be dying on its back side. Sky fairies for people who cant handle the fact that one day they will be worm food. Santa clause for adults that can’t think for themselves. Religion is a state sanctioned mental illness that lies to people in order to control them. Angryoldman
  • Score: 1

10:07am Wed 12 Dec 12

sjames6621 says...

this is just another form of segregation. IMO the church hopes to continue to get money from gay people, while keeping them separate from str8 people

The bottom line is that when people discover they know gay people - the closet broken - they become supporters of gay people.

this idea is cruel in several ways
this is just another form of segregation. IMO the church hopes to continue to get money from gay people, while keeping them separate from str8 people The bottom line is that when people discover they know gay people - the closet broken - they become supporters of gay people. this idea is cruel in several ways sjames6621
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Wed 12 Dec 12

tooned_in says...

I find this all very negative, as a straight man from Brighton I have grown up around the gay community & bear them no ill will whatsoever, without my knowing I'm sure some of my teachers were gay & I have some not many but some close gay friends but this is just a step too far, what will be next pink buses for gay folk only? gay only supermarkets? scrap the cycle lanes to have gay lanes? c'mon Im sure there are many gay priests that haven't outted themselves anyway.
I find this all very negative, as a straight man from Brighton I have grown up around the gay community & bear them no ill will whatsoever, without my knowing I'm sure some of my teachers were gay & I have some not many but some close gay friends but this is just a step too far, what will be next pink buses for gay folk only? gay only supermarkets? scrap the cycle lanes to have gay lanes? c'mon Im sure there are many gay priests that haven't outted themselves anyway. tooned_in
  • Score: 1

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