Catch the Fire Ministries has changed its name to Reformation Harvest Fire Ministries

By Mail On Sunday Reporter

Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-AliA Church of England bishop urged homosexuals to ‘repent and be changed’, as he joins a coalition of conservative parishes opposed to single-sex unions.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, said people who stray from traditional Bible teachings ‘do not share the same faith’.

The coalition, which has been labelled a ‘church within a church’, claims to have the support of the Queen. Organisers said she had sent a message to leaders of the movement, saying she understood their concern about the future of the Anglican Communion.

Row: the comments from Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali will be seen as a direct challenge to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Nazir-Ali spoke after more than half a million people, including the Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown, took to the streets of London yesterday to celebrate gay culture at the annual Pride festival.

The coalition – the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which campaigns against active homosexuality in the Anglican communion – is getting under way tomorrow.

The bishop, who is stepping down from his post in September, told the newspaper: ‘We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.

‘People who depart from this don’t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.

‘The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.

‘We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.’

He added: ‘We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church. We want a movement for renewal. We need a reformation of the Church and the life of the Communion.’

He also said there was a need for a new evangelical movement, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, because the Church is already divided.

‘We’re two different sorts of religion. One has a view of God and the Church and Christianity that is completely different from the other,’ he said.

Derek Munn, director of public affairs for gay rights group Stonewall, criticised Dr Nazir-Ali’s comments.

He told the paper: ‘It is unfortunate that in 2009, a church leader should continue to promote inequality and intolerance.

‘Stonewall knows that most people of faith are accepting of lesbian and gay people. We also know that many lesbian and gay people who are themselves religious believers are not well served by some of those who claim to speak on their behalf.’

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