Monday, February 14, 2011

The Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe

From The London Telegraph-

The Right Reverend Derek Rawcliffe, who has died aged 89. was Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church's diocese of Glasgow and Galloway from 1981-91 and before that spent more than 30 years in Melanesia, becoming the first Bishop of the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, in 1975.

None of this excited any great interest, though his devoted work in the islands of the Pacific earned him an OBE in 1971. But in March 1995, when he was four years into his Yorkshire retirement, he created a stir by revealing in the course of a television programme that he was homosexual – the first Church of England bishop to be open about his homosexuality. Moreover, when he was 50 he had fallen in love with a young Melanesian man and come to believe that his homosexuality was "a gift from God".

None the less, four years later, in 1977 he had married Susan Speight who had been a teacher of ballet and domestic science but was then confined to a wheelchair, the result of diabetic neuropathy. Although much the younger of the two, she was thought to be close to death, but as a result of a shared mystical experience she had a remission and lived for another 12 years. After her death he realised "I was still gay, always had been".

More here-

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