The Bishop of Grantham has become the first in the Church of England to declare that he is in a gay relationship.
Nicholas Chamberlain, 52, has been with his partner for many years and added that they are in a ‘faithful’ and ‘loving’ relationship.
He was ordained last year by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, 60, who added that he was aware about his sexuality.
Bishop Chamberlain made the disclosure when he spoke to the Guardian and added that he didn’t want to make ‘a big thing’ about coming out.
He was made suffragan in the Lincoln diocese in 2015 and obeys Church guidelines which say gay clergy must remain celibate and not marry.
The bishop told the newspaper: ‘It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out.
‘People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.’
He said that both he and his partner ‘enjoy each other’s company’ and ‘share each other’s life’ during their ‘faithful’ and ‘loving’ relationship.
The bishop divulged the personal information after learning that details about his private life were going to be revealed by an unnamed Sunday newspaper.
He added: ‘I hope I’ll be able to be a standard-bearer for all people as a gay man.
‘And I really hope that I’ll be able to help us move on beyond matters of sexuality.’
His appointment was made by Christopher Lowson, the bishop of Lincoln, who said that he is ‘satisfied’ Bishop Chamberlain ‘lives by’ the House of Bishops’ guidance on issues in human sexuality.
In a letter to parishes in his diocese, Lowson said: ‘I am satisfied now, as I was at the time of his appointment, that Bishop Chamberlain fully understands, and lives by, the House of Bishops’ guidance on issues in human sexuality.
‘For me, and for those who assisted in his appointment, the fact that Bishop Nicholas is gay is not, and has never been, a determining factor.’