Gay evangelical Jayne Ozanne has resigned from the General Synod over its “callous disregard” for LGBTQ+ people.
The director of the Ozanne Foundation quit the Church of England’s parliament two days after the biannual gathering, titled Live, Loving and Faith, that saw bishops, clergy and laymen discuss implementing same-sex blessings.
In February, the General Synod announced it would continue to prevent priests ordaining same-sex marriages, but blessings would be offered instead.
Taking to Twitter on Friday (17 November), Ozanne announced that she has quit the decision-making body due to the “callous disregard of the harm Church of England teaching causes LGBT+ people”.
She added that the bishops’ “unity at any cost” agenda is “highly abusive” and in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, which she shared in her tweet, she wrote that she can “no longer in all conscience stay in an institution which continues to condone the abuse of LGBT+ people, particularly young LGBT+ people in our care”.
In response, Welby said he respected Ozanne’s decision to resign, but has asked the provincial safeguarding officer to investigate over the allegations of abuse made.
Ozanne told PinkNews she feels a “great deal of both sadness and relief at leaving Synod”.
She added: “Saddened that I couldn’t do more to open the eyes of those in positions of power to the harm that LGBT+ people continue to suffer because of church teaching and relief that I no longer have to put up with the vile, homophobic abuse from those who profess to serve a God of Love yet preach judgement and damnation.
“I pray that they will one day see the damage and trauma they have caused.”
Welby held a meeting at Lambeth Palace on 3 November with campaigners involved in the Church of England’s introduction of same-sex blessings.
Ozanne said, as reported by the Telegraph, she “left the meeting in floods of tears” after Welby’s speech “opened with a parallel – he wanted to reiterate that we are not a problem; he had dealt with militia leaders who had killed tens of thousands of people and if they were not a problem, of course, we wouldn’t be either”.
After calling out Welby’s comment he responded with a handwritten apology telling her that he was supposed to say that if someone as “evil” as a militia leader could find grace, it is “absurd” for people to suggest that gay people cannot.
A Lambeth Palace source told the Telegraph the Archbishop recognised “it was an inappropriate analogy and that it had been heard differently from how it was intended”.
The Bishop of London has said same-sex couple blessing services in the Church of England are unlikely to take place before 2025, as the church remains divided.