Bishop Gray of Te Waipounamu dead at 68

The Maori bishop who had been suspended by the Archbishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia in February for criticizing Muslim leaders for their silence in the wake of ISIS terror has died. The Rt. Rev. John Gray, the former vicar-general of the Te Pihopatanga (the Maori Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand) and Bishop of the Maori Anglican Diocese of Te Waipounamu (the South Island) died on 13 Nov 2015. Bishop Gray was disciplined by the province for comments made at an interfaith meeting held in January at the Maori church’s South Island ministry school. The bishop told a Jewish speaker the Holocaust “should have taught you a lesson,” while statement from the national church office added the bishop had “appeared to hold the two Muslim guests personally responsible for the slaughter inflicted by ISIS and Al Qaeda – he asked what they were doing about it – and questioned why their faith did not accept the Trinity.” In February the province’s three archbishops published an apology for the bishop’s comments writing “We as leaders do not share or support the views that Bishop John has expressed, and his comments do not represent the Anglican Church’s view on these matters.” Bishop Gray told Radio New Zealand that he had demanded an apology for the apology made by the archbishops, saying they had made false statements about him and had misconstrued his comments. Bishop Gray was born in 1947, ordained as a deacon in 1982, as a priest in 1983, and as a bishop in 1996. His suspension was lifted the week before his death. The bishop’s family thanked those who had expressed their gratitude for his life and ministry and who had supported them at this time. “We weep for our beloved husband, dad, grandad, and rock,” the family said.

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