Ontario House of Bishops declares support for Kevin Robertson and same-sex spouse ahead of Lambeth 2020

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Members of the Ontario House of Bishops gather for a photo during the meeting of the national House of Bishops in Niagara Falls, Ont. this March. Photo: Contributed

The Ontario House of Bishops is lending its voice to the diocese of Toronto’s College of Bishops in publicly supporting Kevin Robertson, area bishop of York-Scarborough in the diocese of Toronto, and his same-sex spouse, Mohan Sharma, in the ongoing controversy about the invitation of spouses to the Lambeth Conference in 2020.

In a statement released Wednesday, May 1, the ecclesiastical province’s House of Bishops announced it had met in April and discussed, among other matters, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s decision, announced in March, not to invite bishops’ same-sex spouses to the international gathering of Anglican bishops.

“There has been significant pain in this decision for Bishop Kevin’s family, for members of the wider LGBTQ2 community, and for many clergy and laity across the Province,” the statement reads. “Recognizing the diversity of theological positions in the Ontario House of Bishops, and in the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, the Bishops of Ontario nevertheless wish to concur with the statement on this matter that was prepared by the Toronto College of Bishops on March 25th.

“We want to assure the Province of Ontario that we are committed to prayerfully supporting each other and walking in unity as members of the body of Christ,” the statement concludes.

The statement is signed by Archbishop Anne Germond, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario and archbishop of the dioceses of Algoma and Moosonee, plus the other bishops of the ecclesiastical province who are not members of the diocese of Toronto’s College of Bishops.

On March 25th, the Toronto bishops released a statement calling the decision not to invite same-sex spouses to the conference “troubling.”

They added, “While we recognize that the issues involved in a decision of this nature are many-faceted, we wish to express our dismay and sadness at the pain that this causes all of us within the College of Bishops, but in particular Bishop Kevin and Mohan as our friends and co-labourers in the gospel.”

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Anglican Journal, I refer to Kevin as my husband or spouse, and he does the same when referring to me. Could I trouble you to please drop the “same-sex” prefix when referring to us? I don’t see references to “opposite-sex” in your reporting. Thank you kindly, Mohan Sharma

    • Thank you for the feedback. We’ll endeavor to keep this in mind with any future reporting on the issue.
      -MT

  2. If Mohan Sharma, the spouse of bishop Kevin, does not mind being called a “husband”, and if Kevin also does not mind that word, why is the Anglican Church removing “husband” and “wife” from the Marriage Canon?

  3. I can not help but see shades of Shades of The Green Book.

    Without batting an eye – “Well that was GREAT.We really enjoyed your performance! ! The Outhouse is all yours. Oh and we’ve prepared a special table for you with your own food right over there in the corner next to the freezer and the garbage bin.”

    I grew up with the now Bishop Kevin Robertson in our Church in Thornhill, On. Last month I saw Kevin for the first time in a very long time. I expressed to Kevin how happy I was for he and his family. I’d noticed how he had become more and more active in the Church and taking part in the Services. One day my Mom had mentioned to me that Kevin had said that he wanted to pursue Theology. I had and still have, much respect for that. How far he’d come since then..!

    During that brief reunion I also had the pleasure of meeting Kevin’s two adorable kids and Husband Mohan. We had such a great conversation.

    Views and decisions such as this and what I hear from Churches are what push me away from organized religion. I still believe in God but, I am disappointed that the Anglican Church which I have spent my whole life being a part of is still in this day and age essentially “tolerating.”

    MY religion accepts all people.

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