A chaplain at a private school created by the founder of the Methodist church has stood down after suggesting that gay people should stay single.
The Rev David Hull said there had been “unhelpful tensions” at Kingswood school in Bath since he made the remarks and he had decided to step aside.
Hull’s comments came in July after the Methodist church conference – its governing body – passed a motion supporting the idea in principle of allowing ministers to conduct same-sex weddings on their premises.
Hull, who is chair of the Methodist Evangelicals Together group, told the Christian media organisation Premier he was saddened by the decision.
He said: “As Methodist Evangelicals Together, we are very clear that the good news is for all. We believe that as part of that good news, God’s plan for creation is either that we are married as one man and one woman for life, or that we are single and celibate just as Jesus was and both of those ways of living are absolutely good news and part of God’s good news. To move away from that is to move away from the good news.”
In a letter to Kingswood parents and other members of the school community, Hull said he had asked the church to curtail his role.
He wrote: “Since the summer, comments I made in the context of an internal debate within the Methodist church have been circulated amongst the student, staff and parent bodies. This has brought unhelpful tensions into the school community.
“There has been no suggestion from church or school of any wrongdoing in making the comments. The views I have expressed have been recognised as being in line with the current position of the church and will continue to be affirmed by the church.
“But the situation nevertheless needs to be resolved. I have therefore requested from the church an immediate curtailment of my appointment as chaplain to Kingswood school, which has subsequently been granted.
“I have been very grateful for the opportunity to serve the Kingswood school as its chaplain. I wish the school well as it continues its mission of education and look forward to continuing to serve the Methodist church in ministry.”
In the same letter, Kingswood’s headmaster, Simon Morris, said: “The Rev Hull has been chaplain at Kingswood since 2015. I would on behalf of students, staff, parents and governors wish to thank him for his ministry to the Kingswood Foundation and for his commitment to the whole school community. I am sure you would wish to join me in wishing him well for the next stage of his ministry.”
The proposed changes to which Hull objected were set out in a report called God in Love Unites Us. A range of views were expressed and a series of provisional resolutions passed. These will be discussed across the church over the coming months and final proposals voted on at next summer’s conference.
A spokesperson for the Methodist church said: “After sharing differing views from across the church, the Methodist Conference commended the report, God in Love Unites Us, for study and prayerful discussion across the church. Resources have been prepared to equip this process and the conference will consider the responses at its meeting in 2020.”
When Kingswood was founded by John Wesley in 1748, it provided education for a small number of the sons and daughters of Wesley’s colleagues and friends.
Neither the school nor Hull replied to requests for comments.
Posted by David Pilkington
Extract from https://www.theguardian.com