The Bishop of Lichfield, The Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave

The Bishop of Lichfield has said he is committed to “Christian inclusion for all” after the Church of England suggested only heterosexual married couples should have sex.

The ‘pastoral statement’ was issued in response to changes in the law regarding civil partnerships.

The document said:

“The Church of England teaches that sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively. Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings.”

Pastoral statement from the House of Bishops

But an open letter signed by the Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave, and the bishops of Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton sought to clarify the comments.

“As bishops serving in the Diocese of Lichfield, we have been approached by a number of clergy and lay people following the statement issued by the House of Bishops on civil partnerships. 

“In light of this, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to a radical Christian inclusion for all people and to the pastoral principles supporting that which we set out in May 2018 in our letter Welcoming and Honouring LGBT+ people

“The statement from the House of Bishops was offered simply as a reiteration of the teaching and current discipline of the Church of England within the new situation which has been created by the legal opening of civil partnerships to opposite sex as well as same sex couples.

“We note that the statement recognises that there will be a range of views conscientiously held within the Church of England, and as bishops we commit ourselves to encouraging within the diocese honest, thoughtful and sensitive conversations as we respect and care for one another and seek together to discern God’s will.”

Open letter from bishops serving in the Diocese of Lichfield

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

Join the Conversation


  1. The church has shown plenty of propensity to change. The Catholic branch is even reconsidering married priests (Where they can’t find any others?!) The whole question of sex is a minefield for Christian belief. Hypocrisy is not confined to the congregations. Wake up Bishops the juxtaposition between faith and politics cannot be ignored. Pragmatism in the light of reality should be your guiding light. If your God really gave humanity self determination then let them find their own moral compass.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *