Thinking Anglicans

GS: Lesbian and Gay Christians

General Synod discussed Lesbian and Gay Christians this morning and, on a show of hands, passed the following motion by a substantial majority.

That this Synod
(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10);
(c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth Resolutions, including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality; and
(d) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the Church.

The motion started as this private motion proposed by the Revd Mary Gilbert.

That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire; and, bearing in mind this diversity,
(a) agree that a homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life;
(b) invite parish and cathedral congregations to welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church; and
(c) urge every parish to ensure a climate of sufficient acceptance and safety to enable the experience of lesbian and gay people to be heard, as successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978 (resolution 10), 1988 (resolution 64), and 1998 (resolution 1.10) have requested.

However the House of Bishops was not happy with this motion, so on their behalf the Bishop of Gloucester proposed the amendment below to completely reword the motion.

Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
“(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10); and
(c) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church.”.

But Mr John Ward thought this went too far so he proposed the amendment below to the Bishop’s amendment.

(i) After paragraph (b) insert as a new paragraph
(c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth Resolutions, including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality;
and re-letter the remaining paragraph accordingly; and
(ii) at the end of paragraph (d) as re-lettered insert the words “and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the Church.”

Both the amendment and the amendment to the amendment were carried by Synod so that the final motion put to Synod was as shown at the top.

Immediately after the opening speech of the debate there were motions to move to next business and then to adjourn the debate but Synod wanted to proceed with the debate and defeated both these procedural motions.

There was another amendment, but it was heavily defeated. We give it below for the record.

At the end insert as a new paragraph:
(d) (or (e) as the case may be) in the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address given on Monday 26th February 2007 ask the Mission and Public Affairs Council to research, prepare and publish missiological ideas for clergy and parishes seeking to share faith with and disciple those who are lesbian and gay.

The background papers to this debate are available online: GS Misc 842A from Mary Gilbert and GS Misc 842B from the House of Bishops.

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matthew hunt
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matthew hunt

Such warmth, such an effulgent, inspirational and generous expression of God’s Grace. Not. And yet again Lambeth ’98 1:10 is re-enforced as being ‘authoritative church teaching’ by those who have no authority to declare it as such. Such a gentle, quiet scandal. And so frighteningly in tandem with the passage of Nigeria’s new law. There’s gonna have to be some clever magic to make the CofE and the AC viable options for halfway decent folks to want to associate with after all this malarky. I’m thinking ‘surely this can’t be real, surely the ABC has something under his mitre to… Read more »

Athos
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Athos

Is it significant that the resolution affirms homosexual orientation but makes no mention of homosexual practise?

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The bishops are as fearful of divisions as they are of gay believers. Indeed, as happens in biological families, too, the overall tone is a tad tilted towards: Why did you come Out? Are you trying to hurt the family? The questions we entertain will certainly include asking how well the previous efforts to be gently condemning are sufficient discernment? The current effective teachings offer gentle breathing space only under carefully balanced real world circumstances which may easily fall apart or evolve towards more destructive or more enlightened further positions. Forty years isn’t much in the long lives of big… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

All rather wishy-washy – and haven’t they noticed that gay and lesbian people cannot participate fully because of Church homophobic regulations?

They just don’t get it, and they never will.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Could have been worse.

John-Julian, OJN
Guest
John-Julian, OJN

Ah, so, in the C of E Lambeth resolutions are now elevated to semi-canonical status instead of being merely an assembled episcopal opinion.

And how long now before the triple crown is offered to Cantuar and those big, red, flat cardinal hats with those wonderful knotted tassles awarded to each of the Primates?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

The gadget here no longer remembers me !I feel used ! : -) Seriously, I take back my first comment on the motion passed by Synod this morning. I do, in fact, having ‘taken five’, think it both very encouraging in the current climate; and substantially positive in itself. The Synod has over-ruled the dour bishops, and turned this back into a postive affirmation of listening, of lesbian and gay church members, of Godiness. It is clear that the Synod was in no mood to be bounced into the puissilaneity of the bishops,or the anti-gay rhetoric of those who would… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Is it significant that the resolution affirms homosexual orientation but makes no mention of homosexual practise?

Posted by: Athos on Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 3:24pm GMT

To answer your question simply & briefly —
in a word “NO!”

There is NO such thing as ‘homosexual practise’.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I wrote my reaction to this, before any responses were published here.

I am sorry for the hurt and discouragement.

I do feel the Synod has been quite affirmative, but also I take heart form the motions they have rejected. e.g. cf the Perkins’ motion.

I do feel with other lgbt people how ignorant and unfeeling much of the bishops’ stuff is. But today surprised me. Maybe my level of expectation has been ground down.

What do others think ?

John N Wall
Guest
John N Wall

Frankly, I don’t think Peter Akinola is going to like this, particularly. I’m really surprised — since he seems to be calling the shots in the Anglican Communion right now — that he hasn’t come after the CofE like he has we folks in the Episcopal Church.

Pluralist
Guest

This is a sort of – we have different views, we welcome gay and lesbian orientation (but leave out the fulness of gay and lesbian life – we can’t handle that yet) and, er, we are stuck in a rut. Another thought: down in Abuja they won’t be too happy with the drift of the sentiment in both motions, will they, even though each is about being stuck. One way out of the mud rut may be if Nigeria gets the hint. Pity no one is proposing an emergency motion about the situation in Nigeria, its legislation and the abuse… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

“…homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life…” How nice. Being a woman is no bar to living a faithful Christian life, either. It’s just what is meant by a faithful Christian life for a woman or a gay? Or a child being molested by a church leader? Or an indigenous child stolen and put into a suitable Christian family? Or a slave or poor person in a nation with no labour laws? What is meant by “life”? Existing and subsisting, outcaste and living in fear of violation; often made manifest? There is no fundamental underpinning… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I agree with Cheryl – and as to the impending Nigerian law I have written to the HBT-group of the Swedish parliament, the Ministers of Justice and Migration, the Archbishop of Uppsala, Amnesty Sweden and a couple of newspapers.

David Walker
Guest
David Walker

Laurence wrote: The Synod has overruled the dour bishops.

Actually, unless I miscounted, most bishops, including the Bishop of Gloucester, voted for the John Ward amendment. It helpfully made explicit what the Gloucester amendment implied.

The problem with Gilbert was that the preamble to the resolutions was badly drafted and capable of being twisted by outsiders in different directions – not a good idea at present, and the biblical analysis in her background paper was woeful and was demolished early in the debate by Prof Thistleton.

Fr Joe O'Leary
Guest

“Frankly, I don’t think Peter Akinola is going to like this, particularly. I’m really surprised — since he seems to be calling the shots in the Anglican Communion right now — that he hasn’t come after the CofE like he has we folks in the Episcopal Church.” Verbally, he has made his disgust with the liberalism of the C of E perfectly clear, and I suspect that if he feels emboldened by the results of Tanzania as they unfold he will certainly move into more aggressive gear against Canterbury. He thinks that God raised him up to save the Anglican… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Oh I didnt mean the poor bishops were just having an isolated sudden bout, or episode of ‘dourness’ David Walker. (I could have choen a from a range of other words, but dourness won out over the anglo-saxon possibilities), No, the bishops of the C of E have been failing lgbt people for a very, very long time now. Their muddle, duplicity, spinlessness and hyporcracy have been of concern ffor many years. Let there be no room for doubt. I am speaking of their disgraceful treatment of real pople and the suffering their pastoral insensitivity has caused. But also, they… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi drdanfee Lower animals do not look to higher animals to teach them how to behave. Yet what you are proposing is much more strange: that the higher should learn from the lower. The very fact that we can be self-critical about our actions proves that we are in a different category from those animals who act purely by instinct. We by contrast can choose to act morally, ie in the interests of the greater good rather than immediate self-gratification. Observing my parents’ cats it is possible to attribute practically 100% of their actions to gravitating towards self-gratification. Unless or… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

David’s post makes me woncer if too much time is expended on ANALYZING the Bible and demolishing people. Do they god together ?

Will this lead us to G-D ?

Are professors and bishops really the ones to lead us to God’s Kin-dom either ?
(On a reading, but not analysis, of the Gospels, say…)

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Been doing a bit of composting then, Christopher.
great weather for it !

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Sadly, I too thought the background paper invited a kicking.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I found a movie that’s really helped me and my church with all this, God & gays: Bridging the gap (www.godandgaysthemovie.com). I think it’s smart, it actually offers a little comic relief and it’s told from the perspective of these people who are directly effected by harmful and discriminatory resolutions in the name of G-d. Sometimes I find we forget these are human beings…and not some disfigured unknown threatening our families and marriages. I don’t know…this movie really helped. Check it out.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

CS so amuses me. The “higer animals” who overlooked the needs of abused women amd children until the litigation courts court up with them? Plus, I have to admit that at least a female cat in heat is honest. She is in heat and it is up to the male to protect her if he wants to sire her progeny. If he isn’t prepared to look out for her, then he really has no right to complain who services her. I have spent the day bemused at Christians who think that God only flatters them. Apparently, anyone who might discipline… Read more »