The Archbishops of this Church have issued a public apology in the wake of remarks by Bishop John Gray that have offended Jews and Muslims.
Last month Bishop John invited representatives of other faiths to Te Waipounamu’s annual Ministry School – and during a provocative plenary session called ‘Hard Talk’ he told the Jewish speaker that the Holocaust “should have taught you a lesson”.
Bishop Gray then appeared to hold the two Muslim guests personally responsible for the slaughter inflicted by ISIS and Al Qaeda – he asked what they were doing about it – and questioned why their faith did not accept the Trinity.
When the Archbishops were made aware of Bishop John’s remarks, they issued a public statement that apologises “for the hurt which had been caused” by Bishop Gray’s remarks.
“We as leaders do not share or support the views that Bishop John has expressed, and his comments do not represent the Anglican Church's view on these matters.”
The Archbishops’ apology went on to say that the church “values the relationships and the dialogue that it has with other faiths”.
Today’s Sunday Star Times carries a report that acknowledges the Archbishops’ apology and describes reaction from Jewish and Muslim spokesmen.
In that report, Dave Moskovitz, from the NZ Council for Christians and Jews, said Bishop Gray’s “highly offensive” remarks were shocking.
However, he welcomed the Archbishops’ apology and their distancing of the Church from the offending remarks. He said Bishop Gray’s comments were at odds with his experience of Anglicans over the years.
The Sunday Star Times reports that the Chairman of the Otago Muslim Association also welcomed the apology.
The two-hour long kura session in which Bishop Gray made the offending remarks had been uploaded to YouTube.
That video has since been taken down.
The statement sent by the Archbishops to the Sunday Star Times follows:
The Archbishops of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia wish to apologise for the hurt which has been caused by comments recently made by Bishop John Gray, Bishop of the Anglican Maori Diocese of Te Waipounamu.
Those comments are in regard to the beliefs and the history of other faiths and ethnicities.
We as leaders do not share or support the views that Bishop John has expressed, and his comments do not represent the Anglican Church's view on these matters.
The Anglican Church values the relationships and the dialogue that it has with other faiths, and appreciates the respect that is extended to it by other faiths.
Anglican Church leaders need to pursue conversations about this matter and are unable to comment further at this point.
Archbishop Brown Turei (Tikanga Maori)
Archbishop Philip Richardson (Tikanga Pakeha)
Archbishop Winston Halapua (Tikanga Pasefika)