A BISHOP has become the first in the Church of England to announce he is gay and in a same-sex relationship.
The Sun repiorts that Rt Rev Nicholas Chamberlain, 53, the bishop of Grantham, came out last night ahead of a planned Sunday newspaper exposé.
Mr Chamberlain said he was in a long-term celibate relationship with his partner but had not wanted to make a “big thing” about coming out.
Nicholas Chamberlain: ‘Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.’ Photograph: Martin Godwin/for the Guardian
He said: “People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone.
“Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.”
Mr Chamberlain said he did not want to be known as “the gay bishop”.
But he said his relationship is “faithful” and “loving”.
And he added: “We are like-minded, we enjoy each other’s company and share each other’s life.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says he knows that Bishop Chamberlain is gay and he doesn’t care, saying his “sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office”. Picture: AFP
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says he knows that Bishop Chamberlain is gay and he doesn’t care, saying his “sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office”.
Mr Chamberlain was appointed last year under the guidance of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Archbishop Welby has said he was aware of Mr Chamberlain’s situation.
And he said the appointment was made on the “basis of his skills” and calling to serve the church.
He added: “He lives within the bishops’ guidelines and his sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office.” The Church has long been divided over homosexuality and often discusses whether it can accept same-sex marriage.
Rumours about gay bishops in the church have circulated for decades.
David Hope, the former Archbishop of York, once revealed his sexuality was a “grey area”.
And George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, claimed to have knowingly consecrated two celibate gay men as bishops in the 1990s.
But nobody has ever officially come out as gay until now.
A spokesman for the Church of England said: “Nicholas has not misled anyone and has been open and truthful if asked.
“The matter is not secret, although it is private as is the case with all partnerships/relationships.”
They added it would be unjust to discount someone as a bishop “if they conform with the church’s teachings on sexual ethics or other areas of personal life and discipline”.