Black, gay priest shares powerful letter calling for LGBTQ+ inclusion in Church of England

Father Jarel Robinson Brown

A gay, Black priest has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for the “full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people” in the Church of England. 

Father J. A. Robinson-Brown wrote an open letter on Saturday (21 October) which he shared on X, (formerly Twitter), calling for the Church of England “not to judge or to exclude, but to love” ahead of the General Synod in November. 

Robinson-Brown criticised the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage, which it has not yet approved, though it is reportedly working on guidance introducing blessings for same-sex couples.

“In Jamaica, someone like me will face 10 years imprisonment with forced labour for being gay, yet here, in this Church, in 2023, the Church of England … I cannot marry someone of the same-sex, will be disciplined if I bless couples in a same-sex relationship, and live within a Church which says I must be, as a gay man, celibate lest again I be disciplined,” he wrote.

Robinson-Brown added that the Church of England’s stance towards same-sex couples means the Church is “in trouble”. 

He continued: “Not because I as a gay, Black man says it is, but because any movement with Jesus at its centre that lives in such denial of his message of radical love cannot be in anything other than deep trouble.”

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Father Robinson-Brown explained that he was inspired to write the open letter after visiting Lambeth Palace Library and reading a “deeply profound” letter from an enslaved person “pleading with the Archbishop of London” for their “dignity and worth”.

He explained that the letter from 1723 was never replied to, and that the enslaved people’s Bibles at the time had been “mutilated” to remove lines that could inspire them to rise up and “seek liberation”. 

Robinson-Brown added that the Church’s teachings are that Christians must “stand with the oppressed, the outcast, and the marginalised”.

“Life in all its fullness cannot be for the few, but surely for me, for my trans siblings, for my sister priests, for the divorced, for the refugee, and for the LGBTQ community,” he added. 

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, said on Saturday (21 October) that blessings for same-sex couples are unlikely to happen before 2025, as “we don’t all agree on these issues”.

Mullally continued: “We are making pastoral provision for those who wish to celebrate what is good within their [same-sex] relationship.”

PinkNews has contacted Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for comment.