The Dean of Leighlin has called for the Church of Ireland to be divided into two in the wake of last month’s vote in the Republic to allow gay marriage
The Dean of Leighlin has called for the Church of Ireland to be divided into two in the wake of last month’s vote in the Republic to allow gay marriage. In a letter to the editor published in the Church of Ireland Gazette on 5 June 2015, the Very Rev. Tom Gordon, (pictured left) denounced the Irish House of Bishop’s “exclusively traditionalist view of human sexuality” and denounced their post-referendum statement as “crude and unfortunate” for not being in conformance to current thinking in the South. The House of Bishops and the leadership of General Synod were dominated by conservative Evangelicals from Ulster, he charged who had disenfranchised Southern Irish liberals. The sharp decline in church attendance coupled with last month’s vote should prompt a “reality check” for the church, he argued. “If the Church of Ireland in the Republic is to survive, it may be time for us to reflect on the seismic differences which now exist between the church’s southern and northern constituencies,” he said, noting the “distinctive theological cultures” in the North and South were so different, it was now time to for each to be given the “latitude to “develop separate theological and pastoral identities.” In 2011 Dean Gordon prompted controversy within the Church when he entered a same-sex civil partnership civil partnership. Sources in the Church of Ireland tell The Church of England Newspaper Dean Gordon’s call for a split between North and South is not unexpected, but his claim that the South is uniformly in favor of the progressive agenda was mistaken. Votes on resolutions before the 2012 session of General Synod on human sexuality did not show as sharp a divide between North and South as Dean Gordon asserts, although two Southern bishops did lend their voices to the “Yes” campaign.