Northern Ireland news

Senior Church of Ireland clergy write letter of objection to election of new Bishop of Down and Dromore

Archdeacon David McClay

ALMOST 40 senior Church of Ireland clergy have objected to the election of the new Bishop of Down and Dromore.

It was announced earlier this month that Archdeacon David McClay would succeed the Rt Rev Harold Miller, who retired at the end of September.

His election was announced following a meeting of the Episcopal Electoral College for the Diocese in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.

However, 36 senior clergy members have signed an open letter to object to his selection due to their concerns about his involvement with a conservative Anglican group, according to the Irish Times.

In their letter to the church’s House of Bishops, they state that they have "real concerns regarding the appropriateness of his membership of the Council of Gafcon Ireland (Global Anglican Future Conference) in relation to his election as bishop".

"The policies of Gafcon are antithetical to these principles of fostering unity, care for the oppressed, and building up the people of God in all their spiritual and sexual diversity," they write.

They also state in the letter that a Gafcon taskforce last June recommended that "the provinces of Gafcon should retain the historic practice of the consecration only of men as bishops".

"Thirty years ago the Church of Ireland voted for the ordination of women as deacons, priests and bishops," they state.

"Is this now to come under question?

"How could Archdeacon McClay possibly accept a woman as his colleague in the House of Bishops or uphold the doctrine of the Church of Ireland on women in the episcopacy?"

The letter finishes with the signatories stating: "We urge the House of Bishops to exercise spiritual leadership and not confirm this appointment".

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