The Bishop of Chichester has appointed a Brighton priest to a new LGBTI outreach role, while saying the move should not be seen as a change of direction on gay issues.
Reverend Andrew Woodward, Priest at St Mary’s Church in Kemptown, was made the first liaison officer for the LGBTI community this week in the Diocese of Chichester, a region that includes Brighton, Chichester, East Grinstead and Hastings.
The Bishop Dr Martin Warner, who created the new role, said it did not establish ‘a particular policy change or a new direction of travel in the Diocese’ position on same-sex issues’.
Dr Warner voted in the House of Bishops earlier this year at the General Synod to give his approval to a report that reaffirmed the Church’s anti-gay marriage position.
Of the 44 bishops present only one voted against, the Bishop of Coventry, who later said he pressed the wrong button on his voting machine.
However the non-binding report was defeated by a dissenting House of Clergy, meaning the issue will have to be debated again.
Fr Andrew Woodward of Brighton said he wanted to make everyone feel included no matter what their sexuality.
He said: “I am keen to build relationships with people who may hold differing views, so that together we can work in trust and respect for one another, for the good of all.
“My priority within all of this process is to ensure that all voices are heard and that you feel able to approach me and share your views openly.”
The Kemptown priest has been the head of St Mary’s Church since November 2007.
He was given responsibility for 28 parishes in 2015 when he was made Rural Dean of Brighton.
Before training for the priesthood in 1996, he spent 35 years as a banker at Lloyds, where he specialised in residential development and commercial investment.
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