THE Archbishops have been asked to set up an independent inquiry into the process that led to the decision not to proceed with drafting a liturgy to mark gender transition (News, 26 January).
Such action was needed to “rebuild trust and to restore good governance” within the Church, Canon Peter Leonard, who chairs OneBodyOneFaith, and its chief executive, Tracy Byrne, wrote in a letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, published last Friday.
“We call upon you to set up an independent and open inquiry to investigate both the process by which this decision was reached and the way it was represented by Church House officials,” they wrote.
The letter draws attention to the fact that communications about the decision referred to the Bishops’ having “prayerfully considered” the request for liturgical provision, and a lack of evidence to support this claim.
“There is a conflict here which could be perceived as spin; an attempt to circumvent synodical process; or as incompetence.”
The delegation of the question to the House of Bishops’ Delegation Committee was “dismissive”, they wrote, and the process had “undermined our faith that the bishops of the Church of England mean what they say on this issue”.
The letter warns: “As well as the question of public confidence in the Church of England’s governance, many of us on General Synod now need to have our trust re-established, following a decision which Synod made being so easily dismissed by the House of Bishops, in a process that is not only not transparent but seems to undermine Synod’s status and function.”