A tsunami of love for a gay bishop

Jan 17, 2020 by

from Church Times:

IN SEPTEMBER 2016, a Sunday newspaper threatened to “out” the Bishop of Grantham, Dr Nicholas Chamberlain, as gay (although his sexuality was no secret within the Church). In a brave move, the bishop decided to give an exclusive interview to The Guardian, and became the first Church of England bishop to declare publicly that he was gay and in a same-sex relationship (News, 9 September).

In response to the media coverage, some 500 letters and emails were sent to Dr Chamberlain, many arriving within a week. Anticipating such a response, the overwhelming concern of figures in his diocese was that the tone of the correspondence would be critical of the Bishop and damning of his theology and approach. To their great surprise, more than 90 per cent of the letters contained unequivocal support for him, and only a percentage of these letters were from people he knew.

So unexpected were the unsolicited expressions of love and respect that the Bishop’s staff employed us, as sociologists of religion, to analyse the letters with a view to helping them understand better their content and meaning. Our analysis was written into a report for the College of Bishops, as well as for an academic publication, which was launched yesterday in the Goldsmiths Faith and Civil Society Unit seminar programme.

Read here


Related Posts


Share This