We, the undersigned members, lay readers and clergy of the Church of Ireland wish to make known our dismay at the recent events which have strained the very fabric of our Church's unity and witness. For the first time in the life of the Church, a serving cleric has entered into a civil partnership, and as he claims, has done so with the full knowledge of his diocesan bishop. We want to highlight the hurt and distress these actions have caused to many in our parishes, leaving them uncertain about the position of the Church of Ireland in relation to sexual morality. We write to disassociate ourselves from any implied or perceived acceptance of sexual relations outside of marriage and to reassure parishioners that Church of Ireland teaching has not been changed by this precipitous action.
We call upon all in church leadership to undertake to ensure their lifestyles and teaching are in accordance with the historic [catholic] and faithful interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. This is their primary pastoral responsibility. The mind of Christ has been clearly revealed on matters of human sexuality. The Scriptures make clear that the only context for sexual expression is marriage. The promotion of all lifestyles contrary to those permitted in the Scriptures has serious consequences for those who both promote and practise them. We rejoice that God's forgiveness of our sin and the promise and reality of grace enable Christians to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We ask that all in church leadership uphold and submit to the authority of the Scriptures. We particularly call upon bishops to fulfill their calling and office by taking appropriate action to restore the witness and unity of the church, in the truth and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we observe the response to the acceptance of same-sex relationships across the Anglican Communion, it is with deep regret that we are compelled to acknowledge the realities of broken or impaired communion worldwide, and the possibility of the same even within our own land. However, we continue to pray for our church in her mission of bringing the Gospel to our land and in her commitment and faithfulness to apostolic truth.