Skip to content

CofE bishop reveals he is in a homosexual relationship

Printer-friendly version

The Bishop of Grantham has become the first bishop to reveal that he is in a homosexual relationship.

Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain, of the diocese of Lincoln, says that he has been with his partner for many years although the relationship is celibate.

He was appointed last year by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who said that he knew about Chamberlain’s sexuality but as the relationship is celibate, Chamberlain is obeying church guidelines.

'Sexuality is a part of who I am'

The Archbishop said in a statement: "I am and have been fully aware of Bishop Nick’s long-term, committed relationship. His appointment as Bishop of Grantham was made on the basis of his skills and calling to serve the church in the diocese of Lincoln. He lives within the bishops’ guidelines and his sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office."

The news emerged in an interview with the Guardian, and it has been reported that he gave the interview because his private life was about to be exposed by a Sunday newspaper.

"It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out," he told the Guardian. "People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on."

'Confusing and unhelpful'

A statement by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) said: "This creates confusion in terms of the Church's teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin."

Rev Canon Andy Lines, who is Chairman of GAFCON told the BBC that he would not advise a heterosexual couple who are celibate, for example, to live together, because of the impression this would give to others.

"Christian leaders are to be above reproach", he added.

'Openly defying Scripture'

Christian Concern’s Chief Executive, Andrea Williams, commented: "Bishop Chamberlain is openly defying Scripture and promoting both a lifestyle and an identity which run counter to Scripture.

"It is unfortunate that the Archbishop of Canterbury selected Bishop Chamberlain, being aware of his sexuality and lifestyle, which is not to the standard that is expected of those who are in positions of spiritual authority."

'We are new creations'

Vaughan Roberts of the ministry Living Out was interviewed in October 2012, in Evangelicals Now.

During the interview, he discussed his book Battles Christians Face, in which he talks about his own struggle with same-sex attraction. When asked if this means he defines himself as "homosexual", Roberts replied: “No, it doesn’t. It’s important to reiterate that I have acknowledged a struggle in all eight of the areas the book covers and not just in one. The brokenness of the fallen world afflicts us all in various ways.

"We will be conscious of different battles to varying degrees at different moments of a day and in different seasons of our lives. No one battle, of the many we face, however strongly, defines us, but our identity as Christians flows rather from our relationship with Christ."

Robert continued: "All of us are sinners, and sexual sinners. But, if we have turned to Christ, we are new creations, redeemed from slavery to sin through our union with Christ in His death and raised with Him by the Spirit to a new life of holiness, while we wait for a glorious future in his presence when He returns."

Related Links: 
Bishop of Grantham first C of E bishop to declare he is in gay relationship (Guardian) 
Gafcon Statement on the Appointment of the Bishop of Grantham (GAFCON)
A battle I face (Evangelicals Now) 

Subscribe to our emails