Church of England's first gay bishop says he understands Christians who condemn his appointment

The Church of England's (C of E) first openly gay bishop has said he understands the intense criticism he has received from his brothers and sisters in Christ.

His appointment as a bishop in the C of E has received diverse feedback since it was first announced. The Bishop of Grantham, Nicholas Chamberlain, who is celibate despite being in a long-term same-sex relationship, in submission to Church rules, recently said to The Guardian, "There has been direct response – I've had a lot of emails – which has been concerned, or anxious, and even angry, but not very much of that and I do understand that."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks to the congregation during a ceremony in this photo. | Reuters/Gareth Fuller/Pool

Meanwhile, the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Gafcon), a conservative group of Anglicans worldwide, condemned Chamberlain's designation.

"There are aspects of this appointment which are a serious cause for concern for biblically orthodox Anglicans around the world, and therefore we believe that this appointment is a major error," read Gafcon's statement.

Chamberlain expressed his understanding regarding this statement, saying that he has read it and has listened to the news about it.

According to reports, he never meant to hide his gender. Then and now, Chamberlain shared that all he wants is to focus on and prioritize his ministry, his service to God and the people he is surrounded with. He said that he has done that and will continue to do so as a gay man.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said to the BBC that he knew of Chamberlain's committed relationship with his partner. Chamberlain's appointment as a bishop was "made on the basis of his skills and calling to serve the church in the diocese of Lincoln."

Welby added, "He lives within the bishops' guidelines and his sexuality is completely irrelevant to his office."