Bishop apologizes after flap over ban of gay choirs

Published December 1, 2004


As the house of bishops met here in early November, their host bishop came under fire for barring a gay choir from the city’s cathedral.

Rodney Andrews, bishop of Saskatoon, cancelled a concert by a gay choir in St. John’s Cathedral just two weeks before they were due to perform. The Prairie Pride Chorus, from Regina, had been set to perform Nov. 13 with Saskatoon ‘s Bridge City Chorus.

Bishop Andrews told Anglican Journal that he had received complaints and that he has been under enormous pressure from conservatives in the diocese. “The turmoil has caused (me) a lot of sleepless nights,” he said. “I am trying to avoid serious splits in the diocese. This is a conservative part of the world,” he added.

However, the cancellation, seen as discriminatory and bigoted, was the top page-one story in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.

On Nov. 9, he issued a pastoral letter apologizing to the choirs, the cathedral and to gays and lesbians who were hurt by his actions, saying he “made the decision before all the information had been given to me.” He affirmed the cathedral’s right to implement its rental policy and urged moderation and understanding among church members.

Bishop Andrews also told the Journal that he has put Rev. Nathan Gough, rector of the River Valley Parish, on leave without permission to officiate after the priest sought alternate episcopal oversight from some Asian bishops as a protest against General Synod’s decision to affirm the “integrity and sanctity” of homosexual relationships.


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