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NATIONAL CHURCH LEADERS URGE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO ‘WHIP’ BISHOPS IN LORDS TO HELP DEFEAT SAME SEX MARRIAGE BILL

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Issued on behalf of Christian Concern

Press Release

For Immediate Release

3 June 2013

NATIONAL CHURCH LEADERS URGE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO ‘WHIP’ BISHOPS IN LORDS TO HELP DEFEAT SAME SEX MARRIAGE BILL
 
OVER 30 National Church leaders are to hand deliver a letter to Lambeth Palace on Monday morning (10am, 3 June) pleading with the Archbishop of Canterbury to use the Church of England’s unique position in the House of Lords to help vote down the controversial Same Sex Marriage Bill.
 
In a strongly worded letter, the leaders of mainstream churches ask the Archbishop to use all the Bishops seats in the Upper House to speak out on behalf of all Christians in the land, taking advantage of their special rights of audience as Bishops in a State Church.
 
Normally Bishops are represented by one or two of their members by rota, but the senior church leaders believe Tuesday’s vote on Same Sex Marriage is so important for the nation that the Archbishop should ‘whip’ the House of Bishops into attending en-block, and voting against the Bill. The unprecedented move comes at a time when the role of the CofE Bishops in the Lords is under scrutiny in the proposed restructuring of the Lords.
 
In their letter, the leaders state: “As senior Church and Denominational leaders from a variety of non-Anglican churches and backgrounds, we recognise the unique opportunities and responsibility that you have, by virtue of your office, to explain God’s teaching in our public discourse and provide Christian leadership.
 
“We write therefore to urge you to speak and vote in defence of God’s pattern for marriage in the House of Lords this week, publicly to encourage your fellow Lords Bishops to do the same and publicly to challenge the Prime Minister on this issue that is so vital to the future wellbeing of individuals and communities.”
 
They add: “If marriage is re-formed as this Bill proposes, there will be a profound effect on people’s ability to understand themselves (especially the importance of gender), to prosper relationships and to comprehend, experience and enjoy the love of God and the liberating power of the gospel.
 
“Moreover, it is clear that the creation of a new form of marriage will be used by some to try to further exclude the church and Christians from public life through cultural pressure and legal challenge to compel recognition of this new form of ‘marriage’. In fact, as it stands, this Bill will effectively institutionalise two rival understandings of marriage in society – an unstable and unsustainable scenario. The passing of this Bill would not mark the end but the beginning of argument between those competing views.”
 
The leaders end their plea: “We therefore implore you to seize this opportunity to speak boldly and clearly at a critical juncture in the life of our nation, to vote against this Bill and to urge all other Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords to do the same.  We recognise that this represents a defining point in the future direction of the established Church and you can of course be assured of our prayers as you act courageously.”
 
ENDS.
 
Picture Opportunity:
Photographers/journalists are welcome to attend the handing over of the letter at Lambeth palace at 10am, Monday 3 June.
 
For further information/interview:
Pastor Ade Omooba: 07956007150 / 07712591164
 
Text of Letter to Archbishop Justin Welby and Signatories
 
June 3, 2013
 
Dear Archbishop
 
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – 2nd Reading in the House of Lords
 
As senior Church and Denominational leaders from a variety of non-Anglican churches and backgrounds, we recognise the unique opportunities and responsibility that you have, by virtue of your office, to explain God’s teaching in our public discourse and provide Christian leadership.
 
We write therefore to urge you to speak and vote in defence of God’s pattern for marriage in the House of Lords this week, publicly to encourage your fellow Lords Bishops to do the same and publicly to challenge the Prime Minister on this issue that is so vital to the future wellbeing of individuals and communities. Please be assured of our prayers and full support as you do so.
  
If marriage is re-formed as this Bill proposes, there will be a profound effect on people’s ability to understand themselves (especially the importance of gender), to prosper relationships and to comprehend, experience and enjoy the love of God and the liberating power of the gospel.
 
Moreover, it is clear that the creation of a new form of marriage will be used by some to try to further exclude the church and Christians from public life through cultural pressure and legal challenge to compel recognition of this new form of ‘marriage’. In fact, as it stands, this Bill will effectively institutionalise two rival understandings of marriage in society – an unstable and unsustainable scenario. The passing of this Bill would not mark the end but the beginning of argument between those competing views.
 
As you know, it is the role of the Church and her leaders to speak boldly of God’s pattern and promise for life, having confidence in His enduring and life-giving wisdom and resisting the temptation to be swept along by the latest current of cultural thinking. For the sake of society, we provide an alternative perspective to society.
 
We therefore implore you to seize this opportunity to speak boldly and clearly at a critical juncture in the life of our nation, to vote against this Bill and to urge all other Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords to do the same.  We recognise that this represents a defining point in the future direction of the established Church and you can of course be assured of our prayers as you act courageously.
 
We would of course welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues with you.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Dr Jonathan Oloyede – Convenor, Global Day of Prayer London
Revd Celia Colins – Rehoboth Foundation
Apostle Alfred Williams – Christ Faith Tabernacle
Bishop Sam Larbie – Elim Pentecostal
Dr Dipo Oluyomi – Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC)
Revd. Ian Christensen – New Life C.C. (AoG)
Pastor Sunday Okenwa – Deeper Life
Revd. Yisuku Gafudzi Ti – Dean, French Speaking Churches U.K.
Revd. Lovell Bent – New Life Assembly
Mr Tony Horswood – Connections Trust
Revd. Denis Wade – Micah Christian Ministries
Pastor Ade Omooba – Christian Concern
Pastor Femi Omisade – New Covenant Church
Canon Yaqub Masih - Chair, Pakistan Christian Concern
Dr Albert Okoye – Chairman, Overseas Fellowship of Nigerian Christians
Dr Shadrach Ofosuware – Freedom Centre International
Revd. Josh Chigorimbo – Apostolic Faith Mission (Zimbabwe Denomination)
Archbishop Hackman – Trans Atlantic and Pacific Association of Churches (TAPAC)
Bishop David Greaves – New Testament Assembly
Revd. Chuks Anierobi – The Shepherd’s Mission
Pastor Lola Oyebade – House on the Rock International
Dr David Muir – Faith in Britain
Revd George Hargreaves – Christian Party
Revd. Kurt Ericksson – Eleos Ministries
Dr Sam Solomon- Fellowship of Faith for Muslims (FFM)
Pastor (Mrs) Eniwaju Etomi – Holy Ghost Zone (RCCG Coventry)
Pastor Asif Gill - Christian Life Ministries (Asian Church)
Pastor Alex Gyasi - Highway of Holiness 
Revd. Elson Parris - Wesleyan Holiness Church
Pastor Lanre Sholola - Christian Victory Group
Revd. Tedroy Powell - Church of God of Prophecy

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