GS Misc 1200 is the document prepared for the synod session on Thursday afternoon, for which the Agenda item reads:
Not later than 5.30 p.m
LIVING IN LOVE AND FAITH AND PASTORAL ADVISORY GROUP (GS MISC 1200)
Presentation under SO 107. Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.
GS Misc 1200 starts thus:
This paper summarises developments regarding the Living in Love and Faith project and the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group. It includes an account of some of the key activities that the work has involved, the emerging shape of the groups’ next steps and how these relate to finding a way forward for the Church in matters relating to human identity, sexuality and marriage.
The paper introduces two key pieces of work, namely the ‘Living in Love and Faith Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Held Together in the Love of Christ: Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together’ produced by the Pastoral Advisory group. A series of fringe sessions are introduced that offer informal engagement with individuals who are members of LLF or PAG as well as members of General Synod…
The text of the Pastoral Principles start on page 8 of the document. A separate copy of them is available over here. TA readers are invited to read and comment on them.
I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend. But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies.
The Episcopal Church currently has one actively serving bishop who has a same-sex spouse. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009 and consecrated May 2010. She has been bishop assistant in the Diocese of New York since April 2016. She is married to Becki Sander, her partner of more than 30 years.
Glasspool told Episcopal News Service Feb. 18 in a telephone interview that she received a letter from Welby on Dec. 4, 2018, in which he said that he was writing to her “directly as I feel I owe you an explanation of my decision not to invite your spouse to the Lambeth Conference, a decision that I am well aware will cause you pain, which I regret deeply…”
Do read the further detail of her exchanges with the archbishop. And the article has been extended to include comments from Bishop Kevin Robertson (Toronto) and to refer to the new bishop-elect of Maine.
OneBodyOneFaith has expressed its sadness and disappointment at the decision to exclude same-sex partners from the 2020 Lambeth Conference, and offered hospitality to those partners who would still like to attend.
Tracey Byrne, Chief Executive, responded by promising to ensure that same-sex partners of bishops who wished to join them in Canterbury, would be warmly welcomed. ‘We are called to follow the example of Jesus in extending the table to those with whom we don’t necessarily agree, and we applaud the effort of the organisers to do just that – but we need to go further. Radical Christian inclusion demands no less from us. These partners may be few in number but they are hugely symbolically significant, prophetic even. We are reaching out to them over the coming weeks, and have already been contacted by members and supporters offering accommodation. We will do everything we can to ensure that they are there in Canterbury next year.’
Monday 18th February 2019 1000
GENERAL SYNOD FORCED TO FACE CHURCH ABUSE CRISIS
Victims of abuse address the church through hard-hitting booklet
The General Synod of the Church of England, meeting this week in Westminster, has once again been forced to face up to the crisis of abuse by clergy and other church officers. In spite of featuring prominently in the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the church had decided not to formally discuss the crisis during its four-day meeting. But victims and survivors of church abuse have forced the issue back onto the church’s agenda through a hard-hitting pamphlet. The booklet We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones updates a previous booklet, which shocked many synod members twelve months ago. Victims of abuse, whose comments about the church caused widespread dismay this time last year, were asked to describe how the church has treated them since then.
The message of the booklet is that for all the talk, the Church of England is no further forward in addressing the needs of victims. “I have been more of less abandoned'” says one. Another complains that “Nobody has taken charge. We remain adrift.” The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the church’s treatment of complainants as “a deeply evil act.” And yet Andrew Graystone, who collated the new booklet, says that the church has persisted in its “lawyer-led, money-driven approach to survivors of abuse.” He pleads for the church to treat its victims as “wounded friends” and to “start by asking what you might do to help them rebuild their lives.”
All members of the General Synod will receive a copy of the new booklet when they arrive for the meeting on Wednesday.
A copy of the new edition of We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones is available for download here: Stones not Bread Revisited.
All Synod members will today receive as well a copy of this Credit card sized reminder of what they personally can do to prevent abuse.
The Church of England’s General Synod will hold its Questions session on Wednesday this week, starting not later than 17:45. The questions (and their answers) have been published this morning. These questions and answers will not be read out on Wednesday, and the session will be devoted to supplementary questions and answers.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed plans for a statue of the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, to be completed and installed in Canterbury Cathedral, hours after apologising for the Church’s botched handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against the Bishop.
Plans for the statue were halted in 2015, after a woman known as “Carol” alleged that Bishop Bell, a former Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, had sexually abused her in the 1940s, when she was nine…
THE blackening of George Bell‘s name would not have happened had there been a confidentiality clause governing the payment made to “Carol”, who accused him of sexual abuse, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said on Monday.
Dr Warner was addressing supporters of Bishop Bell at the Rebuilding Bridges conference, held at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester, to which supporters wish to see the name “George Bell House” restored…
The resolutions which the Bell Society has promoted for some time are these:
Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his “significant cloud” remark concerning Bishop Bell
Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, to invite Barbara Whitley, Bishop Bell’s niece, for a face-to-face meeting. (She has already requested such a meeting.)
Chichester Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter to restore the name of 4 Canon Lane to George Bell House
Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian, the Rev’d Dr Anthony Cane, to permit the reinstatement of Bishop Bell’s portrait and plaque
Chichester Cathedral’s Dean, the Very Rev’d Stephen Waine, to correct page 37 of the Cathedral Guide: Society and Faith
The General Synod to undertake a Full Debate at the earliest opportunity, regarding the serious implications arising from Lord Carlile’s Report
It will be interesting to see if Questions asked at General Synod next week produce any further answers.
A TEN-POINT plan to help children deal with LGBT issues at faith schools has been released as part of a report into the LGBT charity Educate and Celebrate.
The study, written by Dr Anna Carlile, a researcher in the Department of Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, collected interview and focus-group data from five representative schools where Educate and Celebrate had worked.
Educate and Celebrate works with faith schools and schools that serve faith communities to help them understand the LGBT community. Their ten-step process is: first, to “begin with a one-off anti-bullying assembly, which builds staff confidence”; and, second, to “embed the Educate and Celebrate materials across the curriculum and within the school environment, with full usualising achieved by the end of the school year”.
More than 50 faith leaders, education experts and rights advocates have said young LGBT people would be at increased risk of bullying in schools if the government waters down draft guidance in response to pressure.
The Department for Education has issued draft advice to independent schools, saying secondary school children should know about “protected characteristics” under the 2010 Equality Act, which include gender reassignment and sexual orientation. Primary school children should be “aware of the ways in which people can be different and be respectful of those differences”.
From an ACO press release: The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has called on Anglican bishops to attend the next Lambeth Conference despite differences within the Anglican Communion.
…”I know people talk about the fabric of the communion as torn”, he said, “but we are all fallible human beings in need of God’s love and grace, and we need each other.”
Archbishop Thabo made his comments in a video on the Lambeth Conference website. In it, he says: “As said in Sepedi [the language of Northern Sotho]: one bangle doesn’t ring, two bangles will make a beautiful noise. So we are never alone in this journey.
“Whether you agree with where the communion is, whether you don’t agree, come and express your difference in this beautiful space which is a gift from God. Don’t just stay at home and say ‘I’m not going’.
“We want to hear that voice. It’s not a conference of like-minded people; it is a conference of Anglicans. I mean, for God’s sake, Anglicans, from our inceptions, we’ve always had push and pull. So push and pull should not be a distraction, but it should be celebrated.
“It’s what I call at home, ‘celebrating the gift of difference’. So I encourage all bishops and their spouses to make every possible effort to come and see what God is doing through us in his world…”
…With great sadness we therefore have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages…
…It supports the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria in reaffirming the Statement of GAFCON 2018 that the Archbishop of Canterbury should invite as full members to Lambeth 2020 the Bishops of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America and the Province of the Anglican Church in Brazil, and that he should not invite those Provinces that have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices that are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions. In the event that this does not occur the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) unanimously resolved that they will decline any invitation to attend Lambeth 2020 and all other meetings of the Instruments of the Communion.
THE House of Bishops’ decision to offer transsexual people a way to recognise and celebrate their transition in church should be welcomed, not retracted under the pressure of a “fear-mongering and ungracious response” from conservative Christians.
This is the view expressed by 599 lay people and clerics, including a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, in a letter to the Church Times this week.
“We write in support of the guidance provided by the House of Bishops to help those wishing to celebrate their gender transition,” the letter says, before thanking the group that is co-ordinating the Bishops’ sexuality project, Living in Love and Faith (LLF). This includes the Revd Dr Christian Beardsley, a transgender priest who resigned last week (News, Comment, 1 February).
The letter continues: “It is right and proper that the Church should make a loving pastoral response to trans people who are looking for a way to recognise and celebrate their transition in church, and surely the use of the affirmation of baptismal vows is a powerful statement of faith.”
on Wednesday, 6 February 2019 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Andrew John, the Bishop of Bangor, Bishop Andy’s new Episcopal Letter
“I have come to believe that the Church should now fully include without distinction those who commit to permanent loving unions with a person of the same sex. I further believe that the best way to do this is for the Church to marry these people as we do with men and women.”
On Friday, in the House of Lords, three Labour peers proposed an amendment to the Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill which would remove the clergy exemption in relation to same-sex marriage. This amendment was later withdrawn after the Government stated that it could not support it.
The exact wording of the amendment was as follows:
2: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause–
“Removal of exemption for clergy under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
(1) The Secretary of State must make regulations to amend the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 to remove the exemption for members of the clergy to solemnize the marriage of a same sex couple.(2) Regulations under this section must be in force by the end of the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.”
The episode was reported by both the Anglican Communion News Service and The Church of England in Parliament:
The second batch of papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod have been released. I have updated my list of these papers here. There is also a press release about some of the items on the agenda which I have copied below.
A TRANSGENDER priest, the Revd Dr Christina Beardsley, has pulled out of the group that is co-ordinating the House of Bishops‘ sexuality project, Living in Love and Faith (LLF).
In an article in this week’s Church Times, she argues that not enough attention is being paid to the experiences of LGBTI+ churchpeople. And she questions the neutral stance that the LLF process has been taking: “There’s an assumption that LLF is handling equally valid views about sex and gender on which we can, in the end, agree to disagree.”
The report quotes reactions from both Dr Eeva John and the Bishop of Coventry:
The co-ordinating group was surprised and saddened by her departure, the project’s enabling officer, Dr Eeva John, said on Tuesday. She felt that the group had “always been very aware of how deeply personal and painful these matters have been”, and attempted to listen to people without skirting round issues, “but we do that imperfectly”.
She disputed the contention that not enough weight was being given to LGBTI+ voices. As part of the wider participation, which will be fed into the LLF process in the coming weeks, Dr John had held interviews with 22 individuals, 15 of them LGBTIA+, including five transsexual people.
There were eight openly LGBTI+ people in the LLF working groups, 12 if the Pastoral Advisory Group was included. Dr Beardsley would be replaced, she said. “We’re going to find another trans person. We need that voice.
“The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who chairs the co-ordinating group, said on Tuesday that LLF was not simply about balancing different views. “We cannot regard it as impossible in a Christian community to enable people to understand each other’s heartfelt perspectives; and it is our hope that, in a deeper understanding, there will develop a greater level of respect between those who hold differing views — and a greater possibility of assessing the validity of those views and whether they fall into the Christian spectrum.”
The newspaper also carries a lengthy Comment article by Dr Beardsley, which deserves to be read in full.
…Deciding to leave has been hard. I have loved and been loved by the other members. I admire and respect them, and know that they are doing their best, though with their hands tied by the constraints of “the Church’s current teaching”. Praying together as a group has brought us close.
But the moment came. At our meeting in the second week of January, two triggers, in quick succession, brought matters to a head. An LGBTI+ person known to me was demonised. It was as if a mask had suddenly dropped.
Shortly afterwards, the principle of “no talking about us without us” was diluted, yet again, in relation to someone else I know. It was all too much.
My concerns about process, however, have existed for months. I can list these under three headings beginning with the letter “p”: power, parish, and practical theology…