Bishop of Gloucester apologises for church treatment of gay community
SAME-SEX marriage was on the agenda at a rare meeting between Gloucestershire's Gay and Lesbian Community with the Church of England.
The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, hosted the discussion, which was the first official meeting between the two groups since 1976.
And he admitted it was time for the church to apologise for its treatment of the gay community.
The Quaker Meeting House in Greyfriars, off Southgate Street provided the backdrop to the thought-provoking session and the church had some tough questions to answer involving gay inclusion into its community.
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Michael Charlton-Hubble, chairman of the GGLC, said he had experienced a hostile reception in some quarters.
"For me, it is not just the question of same sex marriage," he said.
"It is more about how homosexuals are treated by the church.
"I used to work in the church.
"Twenty years ago I served with the parochial church council and when the church found out I was gay, it was like a curtain had come down.
"I was really shocked by the reaction I've had at Gloucester Cathedral. There are other churches in the Forest of Dean that are far more accepting."
Although seemingly from different worlds, both parties agreed it was time they moved forward together.
Mr Perham, who admits to being a liberal and modern Bishop, said: "The church has to be sorry," he said.
"It has not treated the gay, lesbian and transgender community very well. "The church may be moving slowly, but it will get there. The vast majority of Christians are moving relatively fast towards a more modern way of thinking and towards a position where they should be. It is a place where they should have reached a long time ago, but clearly not as quickly as the rest of society. The church is slow because it is trying to pull together this universal family from all over the world to have the same understanding.
"The church's view on same sex marriage is not sustainable. But homosexuals must realise that the church is not homophobic. We should all celebrate committed, faithful and loving relationships."
The GGLC meets most Thursdays from 8pm, for more information call 07050 627 273.