Thinking Anglicans

Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury following today’s General Synod

Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury following today’s General Synod

Wednesday 15th February 2017

Statement from Archbishop Justin Welby following the General Synod’s vote “not to take note” of a Report by the House of Bishops on the report earlier today on Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships.

“No person is a problem, or an issue. People are made in the image of God. All of us, without exception, are loved and called in Christ. There are no ‘problems’, there are simply people.

How we deal with the real and profound disagreement – put so passionately and so clearly by many at the Church of England’s General Synod debate on marriage and same-sex relationships today – is the challenge we face as people who all belong to Christ.

To deal with that disagreement, to find ways forward, we need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church. This must be founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology; it must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.

We need to work together – not just the bishops but the whole Church, not excluding anyone – to move forward with confidence.

The vote today is not the end of the story, nor was it intended to be. As bishops we will think again and go on thinking, and we will seek to do better. We could hardly fail to do so in the light of what was said this afternoon.

The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ – all of us, without exception, without exclusion.”

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Laurie RobertsChristina BeardsleySusannah ClarkDavid RuncornJeremy Recent comment authors
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Jeremy
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Jeremy

Your Grace, Obviously you are today seriously trying (at last) to change the tone. Thank you for that. But tone is words. What about policy? What about the Church of England’s active discrimination against children of God? So let’s get down to brass tacks. Are you willing to support a liturgy that celebrates civil partnerships? Are you willing to allow civilly same-sex-married clergy to be ordained as bishops? And above all: Are you now willing to base your “radical new inclusion” on England’s needs, not Nigeria’s? Or do you continue to take Communion demands into account, as you lead the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Unity in Diversity.

It can’t just be one side right one side wrong.

The challenge is not ‘Who’s right?’

The challenge is: Can we find grace to co-exist and love one another, even in our diversity?

There can’t just be a single, imposed uniformity.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

These are wonderful, healing, words by Justin Welby. I understand that the road to these words was very cynical. However, I am a true believer in the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and our capacity, with God’s help, to repent, reconcile, and redeem.

I would suggest that when the bishops “think again,” that they do their thinking more inclusively. He will find plenty of gay relationships that are clear examples of flourishing and that bring that flourishing to the church.

Commentator
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Commentator

The Archbishop of Canterbury could have begun with ‘radical inclusion’ if he had included on the episcopal review group the only publicly acknowledged gay bishop, +Grantham. But he didn’t. That the report was ‘not noted’ is in reality a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the HoB and ++ Welby in particular. Everybody, except it appears religious correspondents, knows that ‘taking note’ is not a neutral action because ++Welby would have then said that GS had accepted and supported the HoB’s basic position. Just like he did with the ACC. At long last, some people are getting the measure of this… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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This final paragraph in the ABC’s post-Synod Statement really needs to be taken to heart, by laity, clergy and bishops – not just enunciated for public relations’ sake. The refusal to ‘Take Note’ of the Bishops’ Report clearly indicates the clergy of the C. of E.’s determination to do better than the bishops have done on this vital issue. Congratulations to those of you who got up and spoke at General Synod to such good effect on behalf of the LGBTI minority in the Church. Let’s hope your eloquence has not been wasted. Our prayers are with you all in… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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“There are no ‘problems’, there are simply people.” What does that actually mean though? Demonstrably the Church has problems over sexuality. Demonstrably half the Church of England has problems with gay and lesbian marriage if it was introduced. And above all, LGBT+ people themselves have problems… with homophobia, with marginalisation, with discrimination, with the current dogma that their personal intimacies and fidelity are sins. Some of these problems are inside the Church, and some of these problems are outside the Church, but really, as a liberating agent the Church of England should be in the vanguard of recognising and repudiating… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Re-posting what Commentator said above, because I agree with every word:

“That the report was ‘not noted’ is in reality a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the HoB and ++ Welby in particular. Everybody, except it appears religious correspondents, knows that ‘taking note’ is not a neutral action because ++Welby would have then said that GS had accepted and supported the HoB’s basic position. Just like he did with the ACC.”

Beware ++Welby’s “neutral motions”! He will try to portray them both ways.

David Runcorn
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Susanna I think the ABC was rejecting ‘problems’ as a way of labelling a category of people. I also his closing speech went very much further than anything in the report too.

Christina Beardsley
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I’m not sure that we are possibly more deeply polarised Susannah. I was present in the public gallery for the debate and the truth telling, relational approach of most of the speakers demonstrated a church that was being real about its disagreement over this issue, but seeking to love one another within the love of God, and I’m assuming that this is one of the positive outcomes of the Shared Conversations, however flawed they might have been. It was also pretty obvious that we are all in the same business of proclaiming and living the gospel and that on the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Christina, I am in agreement with almost everything you say, and like many people, I have been engaging with several of the bishops. I’d also be glad to ‘team up’ in any co-operation with the bishops on lesbian and trans issues particularly (perhaps the trans, as they seem underprepared on that front). However, you write: “The rhetoric of welcome for all has to be become reality.” Totally. But that cannot happen as long as my sexual tenderness for my girl still falls into the category of out-of-wedlock therefore sin. Without wedlock, my tender intimacies remain ‘sinful’ by the current definitions.… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
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Hi Susannah. The best way of being involved now is to join OneBodyOneFaith (formerly LGCM & CAE) http://www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk/ I hope that yesterday’s relational speeches at General Synod finally signalled an end of the ‘squaring the circle’/conundrum/puzzle approach, the problematizing of people and their relationships, that is itself the problem.

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

This letter seems quite good -amazingly so !

But usually / always on lgbt issues, the words of church of england leaders turn out not to be what they appear(ed).

I am suspicious of this apparent volte face, and am left wondering what the catch may be.

One approach on the 15th and its opposite on the 16th ? !