Tuesday 18 December 2018

Bishop's visit is under a cloud

Ruth Gledhill

A SENIOR bishop in the Church of England has lost two weeks in the Caribbean sun after an Anglican diocese in the West Indies blocked the visit because of his liberal views on homosexuality.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Rev John Gladwin, was due to visit Trinidad and Tobago this month, when he was scheduled to preach on the feast of Corpus Christi.

The Right Rev Calvin Wendell Bess, the diocesan bishop based in Port of Spain, Trinidad, has withdrawn the invitation after Bishop Gladwin signed a letter declaring his support for liberal Anglicans in North America. The row is thought to have further damaged his chances of succeeding Dr David Hope as Archbishop of York. Bishop Gladwin had been considered a front-runner but the York diocese has requested an archbishop with orthodox beliefs.

The Right Rev Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, is now the front-runner but is thought reluctant to leave the capital, leaving the Right Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, as favourite.

The Chelmsford diocese has developed special links with Trinidad and Tobago over the years. It was in the spirit of Christian friendship that Bishop Bess had invited Bishop Gladwin along with his wife Lydia and a group from the diocese to visit.

But with the support of his cathedral chapter, Bishop Bess wrote to his brother bishop in England last month saying he was no longer welcome because of the views he expressed in his letter to 'The Times'. Bishop Bess said: "The church in the province of the West Indies has made its position on this issue very clear and has described its relationship with the churches of Canada and the United States as impaired."

Bishop Gladwin and five other bishops said in the letter that they did not believe that the ordination of an openly gay bishop in the US or the authorisation of same-sex blessings in Canada were of such significance that they should cause a schism. (© The Times, London)

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