Vicar fears gay marriage change could cause society disintegration

A Jersey vicar has said society could begin to disintegrate if the traditional view of marriage was lost.

The Reverend Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden, Vicar of Gouray, was responding to the appointment of the Bishop of Grantham, who is gay and in a relationship.

Dr Ashenden said it was marriage between a man and a woman that held society together.

"Anglican Christians look to the bible and tradition and say 'we do what we do because God tells us to'," he said.

He said he found it hard to respect Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's decision to appoint Dr Chamberlain when he knew he was gay and said he thought his sexuality was "irrelevant".

No pressure

The archbishop said Dr Chamberlain lived with the bishops' guidelines - which state gay clergy must remain celibate - and his appointment was made "on the basis of his skills and calling".

Bishop Chamberlain told BBC News he understood some people had concerns, but his sexuality was "part of who I am, rather than the whole of who I am".

"I very much understand and respect their feelings and convictions and I hope that we are all part of God's people together."

A number of clergy in same sex relationships have called for the church to be bold and allow gay people to celebrate "without fear".

But Dr Ashenden said they should not try to force the church to change its view.

"If there are clergy who don't want to do what the bible says and don't like Christian teaching, I think they're entirely free to pursue their own lifestyles, but I don't think they can put pressure on the church to be untrue to itself," he added.

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