THINKING ANGLICANS

Shared Conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission

The House of Bishops’ plans for Shared Conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission in the Church of England were issued today in a paper (GS Misc 1083) circulated to General Synod papers. I have made a webpage version available here.

These conversations are what the Pilling Report called “facilitated conversations”. They will start in the College of Bishops in September, then move to groups of dioceses and end with two days of conversations in General Synod in July 2016. The paper gives full details of who will be involved and how they will be supported.

The Church of England has issued this press release.

Next steps in shared conversation process published
27 June 2014

The Church of England has today published the next steps in its process for shared conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission.

A short paper from the Bishop of Sheffield outlines the next steps for the Church following the publication of the Pilling report in November 2013 which recommended that the church’s internal dialogue on human sexuality might be best addressed through a process of conversations across the Church.

The outlines of the process were approved by the House of Bishops at its meeting in May and are published today.

The document has been sent to members of the Church’s General Synod ahead of its meeting in York from 11 -15 July.

The document can be found online here.

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

First of all, a “conversation” is always shared. So the phrase “shared conversation” is a redundancy, and shows muddled thinking. So too does this: “11. Dioceses will look at ways to use their relationships with their companion links to involve participants from elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.” Without knowing who all the “companion links” are, it is hard to know whether this “involvement” would tip the scale in a liberal, or more likely conservative, direction. Fortunately the commitment is very weak. (“Dioceses will look at ways.”) We can infer that Canterbury and York tried to globalize the process, and that… Read more »

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

Perhaps the C of E is simply plotting to bore us all to death, thus stifling those wild souls who believe in acceptance of People Who Are Different?

More “conversations”? More “compassionate listening”? More committees, that’s for sure.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Oh God!
I hope good things flow from this.
Every ounce of me wants the CofE to set aside the darkness that besets it over gay matters and to be a place of good news for my community, I do hope for the best.
Can anyone say if the HofB or Lambeth Palace’s reconciliation team have been in touch with any of the LGBTi groups as part of the preparations for this?

Simon Sarmiento
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Yes. David Porter has had two meetings so far with representatives of the LGBTI Anglican Coalition, the most recent one earlier this week.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

I have a strong suspicion that the HOB will set up a Committee in 2016 to consider the conversations the Dioceses have had. Their considerations will be brought to General Synod which will recommend that the conversations have had lttle impact, so further listening will be required – to be completed preferably before the Parousia.

Frank Nichols
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Frank Nichols

It is a sad comment on the present state of the C of E when there are 54 comments on the Bishops Monitoring Group on Clergy who enter into same sex marriages, and 4 comments on the Wonga/Bank/Pay day lenders thread. It is clear where our sad priorities are – may we be forgiven!

Kelvin Holdsworth
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A more significant question is whether anyone met the LGBTI Anglican Coalition before the process was devised and before the significant decisions about its shape and scope were made and following any such meeting, were there any process changes as a result of that meeting.

Paul
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Paul

Yes, all conversations are shared, but I had thought the language was to draw a distinction between “private” and “shared.”

Father Ron Smith
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One may well wonder: Is there any modern hearing aid that will facilitate a better hearing environment for the Church of England on matters of gender and sexuality?

It would seem that the hierarchy has become more hard of hearing at every new step along the way of understanding. Perhaps a little ear irrigation process needs to be engaged in, just so that the poor and marginalised might be heard.

Perhaps a little judicious head-banging might do the trick!

Iain Baxter
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Iain Baxter

In answer to Frank Nichol’s point, the number of comments on Wonga versus the Bishop’s Monitoring Group has little reflection on priorities. It is a reflection of concern. If the Church of England was itself lending at absorbent rates of interest or proposing to invest more money in Wonga, there would rightly be a large amount of negative comment and discussion. However, the CofE stand on Wonga is widely supported and uncontroversial. People are not leaving the church and losing their faith because of it. However, the CofE’s official stance on LGBT issues is a disaster, and a total mess.… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

I am wondering how this somehow reminds me of the Foreign Office response’s Four Stage Strategy in time of crisis in “Yes Prime Minister”?
“In Stage One we say nothing is going to happen.
Stage Two we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
Stage Three, we say maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we ‘can’ do.
Stage Four, we say maybe there was something we ‘could’ have done, but it’s too late now.”

JCF
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JCF

FrankN: I’m just an Ignorant Yank here, so I really don’t want to wade into matters (Wonga) w/ which I am completely unfamiliar.

But it has long been the wish among many of us in the LGBT community to ***hurry up and put discrimination behind us*** PRECISELY so that we may turn full-force to the thornier issues of economic justice [Thornier, because our fallen human natures lead us ALL to “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable” selfish agendas. Kyrie eleison.]

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

“It is a sad comment on the present state of the C of E when there are 54 comments on the Bishops Monitoring Group on Clergy who enter into same sex marriages, and 4 comments on the Wonga/Bank/Pay day lenders thread. It is clear where our sad priorities are – may we be forgiven!
Posted by: Frank Nichols on Friday, 27 June 2014 at 7:01pm BST”

Perhaps the commentators here think it goes without saying that the Church’s position on payday lenders is self-evidently a ‘good thing’ – so they don’t say it?

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
Guest

Or, just maybe, Mr Nichols, that everyone is in agreement that usury is awful. The topic is much less contentious. Have you met anyone who’d argue the CofE should keep its shares in Wonga?

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Who is in *control* of the facilitated conversations, and who gets to represent what was said? And who gets to participate in the conversations, and get a hearing? And who doesn’t get to participate, or get a hearing? Will there be an open, transparent website for contributions to the conversation, for all to read? Who will set the agenda for the conversations, if any? Will LGBT Anglicans (and non-Anglicans, and non-Christians) be able to contribute to the agenda, raise important themes, or generally participate? Will be able to *hear* the opinions and views of non-Christians, on the impact C of… Read more »

John
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John

I agree the English is flabby but this process is surely likely to yield ‘an agreement to disagree’, which should imply gay people can act according to their consciences.

James Byron
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James Byron

“The choice of diocesan participants will rest with the diocesan bishop.” So the men in purple who think they’ve the right to force gay people to suppress their sexuality for life are to be in charge of deciding who can speak?

Please tell me that liberals will boycott this farce from the off?

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“why should the country care what a nasty, homophobic organisation has to say about Wonga” The problem is that I’m not entirely sure what the CofE ever hope to achieve by talking about Wonga in the first place. Is short-term, high-risk lending to people whose credit-worthyness is marginal at best a pretty scuzzy business? Yes. Is it legal? Yes. Are the alternatives (loan sharks, mostly) better? No. Are high street banks going to get involved in short-term, high-risk lending? No. Would it be a good idea for credit unions and the like to displace payday lenders? In principle, yes, but… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Hurrah for the Methodist Conference decision to open up their Church to the blessing of Same-Sex Unions – whether Civil Marriages or Civil Partnerships.

Might this just offer another reason why the Church of England should seriously consider reconciliation with the Methodist Church in Britain? It might be good for the justice record of both Churches. It might also help the C.o E. to move a little more quickly on the issue of Same-Sex relationships.