Thinking Anglicans

Ozanne Foundation launched

There is a press release today, which is copied in full below the fold.

More details from this website:
* About
* Trustees
* Council of Reference
* Charitable Objects

BISHOP OF LIVERPOOL TO CHAIR NEW CHARITY TO ADVANCE ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF LGBTI PEOPLE BY ALL RELIGIOUS GROUPS

The Rt Revd Paul Bayes is to Chair the Ozanne Foundation, a new charity that will work with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender.

The Charity’s Director, Jayne Ozanne, is a well-known activist within the Church of England and has led a range of initiatives over the past two years to help ensure the Church embraces and celebrate the equality and diversity of all.

Bishop Paul chairs an influential group of ten trustees from across the church traditions, which range from the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison, to the Editor of the Church of England Newspaper, Colin Blakely. A Council of Reference brings together some of the most outspoken names on LGBTI rights within the Christian Church – including Revd Steve Chalke of the Oasis Foundation, the Very Revd Prof Martin Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Ben Bradshaw MP and the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Jeffrey John.

Speaking about his decision to chair this new foundation, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes said:

“The Church of England has committed herself to what our Archbishops have called radical new Christian inclusion, and has publicly stated that we are against all forms of homophobia. If we mean this, and I believe we do, then we need to find appropriate ways of welcoming and affirming LGBTI people who want their love recognised by the Church. I have long been an admirer of Jayne Ozanne’s strong clear advocacy for LGBTI people and other groups who have suffered hurt and abuse – not least at the hands of the Church – and I believe her work should be actively supported and encouraged.”

The new foundation has been set up to help educate and advocate on LGBTI and gender rights around the world, particularly within religious organisations that are opposed to non-heterosexual relationships. In addition, it will look to foster good relations inside religious organisations that hold conflicting views on sexuality and gender issues.

Based in Oxford, Ozanne has shown an impressive track record in galvanising senior Anglicans to come together to speak out on behalf of the LGBTI community. Last summer she led a Private Member’s Debate in the General Synod that resulted in the Church of England calling on the government to ban Conversion Therapy.

“I am thrilled that so many personal friends have felt moved to come together to support my work, and am excited about what this new opportunity might mean. I know that together we can work to ensure that all are fully accepted and celebrated for who they have been created to be – after all, the core of our faith commands Just Love for all!”

ENDS

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Susannah Clark
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Of particular interest, I think, is what Paul Bayes has to say in the lower portion of this Guardian article here, in reference to the Ozanne Foundation and to the issue of LGBT+ inclusion in the Church of England:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/28/evangelical-christians-uncritical-in-support-for-donald-trump-says-paul-bayes-bishop-Liverpool

and in ‘Christian Today’ here:

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/senior-cofe-bishop-to-front-campaign-for-lgbt-inclusion/122369.htm

Best wishes to all involved with the new Foundation. It might be good to liaise and dialogue with Seyran Ateş who is a liberal muslim trying to promote LGBT+ inclusion in Islam:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/26/seyran-ates-muslim-feminist-liberal-mosque-london-britain

Kate
Guest
Kate

I often have mixed feelings about a lot of things posted here, but on this I feel 100% positive. I particularly like that it is neither restricted to the UK, nor indeed to Christendom.

I shall pray that the Lord blesses the Foundation.

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

This is encouraging news. It looks very , promising and full of hope for the future.

Jayne Ozanne and those she has gathered together inspire one with confidence and hope.

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

Good news! Well done, Jayne!

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

Wishing every success for this new endeavour!

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Awesome! Congrats and best wishes!

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Interestingly, on the conservative end too the focus has moved from whether Jesus thinks same-sex attraction is sinful or good, onto how to offer support to LGB people who choose to follow Jesus in a conservative church. See: http://www.livingout.org/resources/two-new-articles-on-church-support-groups It would be nice to see some convergence, so I do hope that Jayne’s latest initiative doesn’t turn out to be just another attempt to damn conservatives.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Charlie Skrine’s article from St Helen’s Bishopgate, which RevDave flags up, is pretty abysmal: “The main pro, as we saw it, was that same-sex temptation can be a lonely and secretive struggle… We wanted to avoid any impression that same-sex sin was worse than other sins.” So yah, we’re setting up a support group for you, on the basis that your tender intimate love and relationships are “sins” and gay sex is therefore a “temptation” (which you presumably should let the church help you avoid). Charlie pats himself on the back for not being homophobic, and supporting gay Christians who… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

The second article RevDave cites on a church offering a group for gay people is open about its contexts. A gay Christian is cited: “I have not been able to reconcile my relationship with my boyfriend with what the Bible teaches, so I have chosen Scripture’s teaching and have ended the relationship with him.” The author’s church set up “a community group at my church focused on caring for those experiencing same-sex attraction, who chose, like my client, to live a life of chastity, saying “yes” to God’s plan for sexuality.” In short, Rev Dave, these are groups that advocate… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Sounds like a good discussion would involve those who have embraced a LGBT identity (with sex!) and those who have decided this is not for them.

Otherwise it just sounds like scolding from a different direction.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“I do hope that Jayne’s latest initiative doesn’t turn out to be just another attempt to damn conservatives” They damn themselves RevDave, they don’t need help from anyone else. To be honest, I’m utterly sick and tired of having to hear sheer bigotry represented as God’s word, nevermind the attitude that tries to suggest that unrepentant homophobia is just one opinion among many or that the 21st century of the Flagellant movement are brave heroes of the Gospel rather than victims of the conservative perversion of Bibliolatry. Minority voices need to be heard, but let’s not make the ‘BBC balance’… Read more »

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

Sorry, RevDave, but I don’t understand what sort of convergence you have in mind. Neither do I understand what you mean by ‘damning’ conservatives.

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

I do not think the Foundation seeks to ‘damn’ anyone but rather to help communicate an understanding of faith, especially among evangelicals, which is just and truly welcoming, in keeping with biblical principles.

CRS
Guest
CRS

FA: sorry you hear things that way.

We have two groups dealing with LGBT in different ways. Why decide ahead of time that there is no discussion between them to be had? ‘Tiff over teacakes’ makes it sound like you are threatened and have no response except subterfuge.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Susannah, Fr Andrew & Flora,

Those conservatives are finding ways to support lgbt people who seek to follow Jesus’ teaching – in a society that is hostile to sexual morality and despises, or fears, abstention.

ps I would point out that, currently, the levels of psychological distress, sex related disease (some fatal), relationship breakdown, self-harm and suicide are *much higher* than they were in the bad old days when sexual immorality was suppressed by society and law!!

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Is it not time we dropped the absurd notion that the Bible is somehow “God’s Word”? At this time of year we profess that the “Word became flesh”. Basing our morality on homosexuality upon texts someone wrote thousands of years ago is absurd. There is nothing more dangerous than an evangelical who knows what God thinks, by claiming it’s in His so-called “Word”.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

RevDave At the risk of endlessly repeating points, would you like to tell me where I can find *Jesus* teaching on LGBT issues? Not Paul’s or the OT, but Jesus’: that teaching you claim conservatives are following? As someone also claiming to be following Jesus’ teaching, I’m aware of his inclusiveness and also his teaching challenging gender and religious norms ; and his warnings against idolising the family, marriage and patriarchy, but nowhere have I seen his words on LGBT issues. I’d love to. References for Jesus’s words…? Your second assertion… where does one start? Putting to one side the… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

‘makes it sound like you are threatened and have no response except subterfuge‘ You mean threatened with prison, queerbashing, losing friends home and job? The sort of threats I’ve lived with all my life? In that context conservative Uncle Tomism is a mild adversary. No idea where the ‘subterfuge’ may come in. As I said, minority voices should always be heard, I’m more than happy to converse. Living Out is, of course, proposing the status quo ante, so I’m not sure there’s too much new to hear. I would also suggest that heterosexuals need to stop talking about us, and… Read more »

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

If a conservative position amounts to what Susannah has called ‘promoting gay celibacy’ it can’t converge with the Ozanne Foundation’s aim, which is to work to eliminate distinction based on sexuality or gender.

Jo
Guest
Jo

RevDave: how on earth are you getting stats for any of those things? *Reporting* of many of those things is likely higher (because who in the 1950s is going to reveal that their uncle killed himself because he was gay and couldn’t cope?), and of course you can force people to contract and stay in loveless relationships by social pressure.

Kate
Guest
Kate

First it was race. BME people wanted what white people had. White people tried to claim that the Bible supported slavery but lost that argument. Then women wanted the same as men. Once again, the Bible was dragged into it as an authority to deny women’s rights. We aren’t all the way there yet, but it’s improving. So now LGBT people want the same opportunities for happiness as straight / cis people. Once again, the Bible is being used to fight equality. Is there anything in the teaching of Jesus to suggest that for over 500 years He would have… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

“…then do we see the Word of God as demanding, judgemental and exclusionary like before Noah and Abraham, or as welcoming, forgiving and socially inclusive as Jesus?”

Is this it? No wonder Marcion eliminated all the Gospels except Luke (leaving out prologue and Emmaus Road) and the rest of the NT except Galatians.

Once you start thinking like this you find the NT Jesus is also too “demanding, exclusionary and judgmental.”

Susannah Clark
Guest

Dave, Good morning. I appreciate you presenting your point of view here, but I really don’t think the new Foundation can find common cause with groups that seek to condemn gay sexuality as sin and gay lives and relationships as offensive to God. How can you expect there to be acceptance of views that vilify decent people’s lives and sacred, devoted love? The site you referenced – Living Out – is set up to advocate gay celibacy on the grounds that gay sexuality is sinful, and the website says on its ‘What we are about’ page that it seeks to… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“The Bible allows for disagreements on certain issues… There are, however, other truths which are non-negotiable… significant matters upon which Christians can’t simply agree to disagree because they impact our understanding of the gospel and, therefore, our salvation.” Susannah, the St Helen’s position is heretical. Let’s be open about that. Salvation is independent of a person’s level of understanding of the Gospel. Children are saved. My friend’s daughter with severe learning difficulties can be saved. Salvation is a gift freely given by Jesus, bought for us by His own, unique sacrifice. Cults link salvation to works. Cults tell people they… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

“Cults tell people they won’t be saved unless they do, or avoid, certain things.”

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

I think you are worked up. Fine. But don’t lose the plot entirely!

CRS
Guest
CRS

“The condemnation of gay sex is non-negotiable.”

But “condemnation” qua condemnation cannot be the problem.

You are equally condemnatory of the position you disagree with. You believe it is totally wrong. You have no time for it. You cannot live in any accommodation with it. Your remarks above make this clear.

That may be fine, but describing the position you condemn and oppose as condemnatory just shows that the laissez-faire position stalls and collapses in on itself.

Susannah Clark
Guest

I don’t know about the heresy bit, Kate, but I do agree with your main point. The danger is that if we make our salvation dependent on our behaviour then we risk descending into ‘salvation by works’ all over again, rather than ‘salvation by grace’. I love the myth and narrative of God’s deliverance through the parted waters of the Red Sea – that classic archetype of baptism. The wonderful thing about that narrative is that it shows total dependence on God. And who gets delivered through the deep waters? Just the good? Just the holy? Just the theologically sound?… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

The difference, CRS, is perhaps that I am not telling anyone how they should live their private lives. If Christians at St Helens want to have heterosexual relationships, they can. In the other directions, LGBT people are being told how they should live their lives, with the threat of lost salvation (and even hell) if they don’t. I really don’t think you can equate the willingness to share faith in diversity, with the insistence that you can’t if the person ‘insists’ on having gay sex. I disagree with their views, yes, but I’m not telling them what sex they’re allowed… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

describing the position you condemn and oppose as condemnatory just…’ @crs

But surely you recognise the false equivalence here? To condemn a position is one thing, to condemn a person for what they are or how they love is something altogether different. It’s rather like that tired sermon illustration of the chicken and the pig’s contribution to the cooked breakfast: for one party what’s on the table is of a completely different order to the other.

As the previous ABC was asked, ‘who pays the price’? Sadly, the answer in this argument is always the same, and it’s not the conservatives.

Jo
Guest
Jo

No, CRS, you’re not going to win this argument by trying the “you must tolerate my intolerance otherwise you’re intolerant” line. It’s nonsense and you’re clever enough to know that.

CRS
Guest
CRS

“The difference, CRS, is perhaps that I am not telling anyone how they should live their private lives.” That is not true. You hold a very clear view about the way people who claim to be LGBT ought to live their private lives. For you, ‘having sex’ is a sine qua non. You believe it is akin to salvation. You condemn those LGBT folk who believe that sex is not productive for them, and liken it on occasion to a form of imposed sickness. That’s why I have said it would be better to have the two groups of LGBT… Read more »

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

@ Susannah, perhaps the convergence could be agreeing that for Christians sex is meant for within marriage? Now that gay marriage is available, will it be expected of Christian gay couples as it is for straight ones? Or perhaps just accepting that choosing celibacy does not make you contemptible? Quite frankly, as a celibate heterosexual, I don’t think the Ozanne foundation, or several other groups in the modern church, would treat me like a human with a brain anymore than they would a gay celibate. Like several of the comments here, their position seems to be anyone who is celibate… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

I don’t think anyone has a problem with celibacy as a choice or vocation, or even as a natural state for those who are asexual. The problem lies with churches that tell gay people it is the only acceptable choice. And let’s not pretend this is about celibacy in general, because the groups being discussed are not promoting or supporting celibacy in general – indeed the churches from which they spring tend to otherwise be very pushy about marriage and children – but celibacy specifically and compulsorily for gay people. Celibacy and marriage are two distinct callings to be celebrated… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

CRS, personally, if any person (gay, straight, or bi) feels called to celibacy, I’ve no problem with it, and hope they find happiness.

My problem comes when traditionalists want to impose their personal beliefs on everyone else. Emphasis: impose. I fully support their right to advocate their position. I also support the right of individual ministers to conscientiously opt-out of performing same-sex marriages.

I don’t pretend that everyone in the affirming camp shares this desire for mutual toleration; but many do, and if conservatives are willing to work with us, solutions can be found.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“For you, ‘having sex’ is a sine qua non. You believe it is akin to salvation.”

That’s the strangest distortion of the lgbti+ argument I’ve yet read anywhere.
No-one has to have sex, why should they? But no gay person who wants a loving sexual relationship should be told that they cannot have one either.
That’s all.
Straight and gay – same thing, same rules.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The other thing I want to say is that for many lgbti+ Christians it’s not about sex but about sin. Yes, sin. Imagine growing up in a good Christian family, loving Jesus with all your heart – and then realising that you are one of those people you have always been told are especially sinful. The kind of people Jesus would not forgive if you were seeking the same loving commitment your brothers and sisters expect as a birth right. THAT is what leads gay Christians from conservative churches to self-harm and suicide. Because they take their faith extremely seriously.… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Colin Blakely…a very fair minded editor… he allows free discussion and letters of all shades of opinion in the CEN. Unlike other evangelical papers which are less free than PRAVDA..oh and even the Catholic Press which will allow no
episcopal criticism.

CRS
Guest
CRS

Yes, that’s how some lgbt folk feel. Others feel differently. My point was simply to acknowledge that and not claim that one position was self-evidently free of judgment. We make judgments all the time. lgbt folk who attend conservative churches today are not in a gulag. They go freely. They go because they do not feel comfortable and are seeking the peace of Christ. Read Wes Hill on this, or any number of lgbt who did not find peace in what is here a standard happy narrative. There needs to be a simple acknowledgement that lgbt is not a monolith… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Robert Ian Williams ‘Unlike other evangelical papers’. I am trying to think of what other papers you might have in mind?

Jo
Guest
Jo

Fine. The place to start with that is for conservatives to stop insisting there is only one valid way to be LGBT.

CRS
Guest
CRS

And for liberals to do the same.

Hence the disagreement.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Which liberals are saying there is only one acceptable way to be LGBT? You’re drawing a false equivalence. At the moment gay Christians in the CofE are officially told that the only acceptable option is celibacy. In SEC and TEC they are free to follow whatever calling they have, whether to marriage or celibacy, or to wait abd see what happens in their lives without necessarily feeling a strong sense of call one way or the other. Are there gay Christians fleeing TEC or SEC because they’re told they HAVE to be in a relationship? That seems extremely unlikely. We… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

A good place to start might be considering who should be celibate, but doing so in a way which entirely ignores sexual orientation. What are the benefits of celibacy or, alternatively of a committed relationship?

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Thank you, Fa. Andrew for your words and engagement here. The essential fallacy is that some are choosing to create God/Jesus in their limited image, rather than seeing the image of God in all people. There simply is no reconciliation between of the love of Jesus Christ, his challenges to the church, and his call to love and not judge with the positions expressed by the “conservatives.” They give themselves the right to judge, with nasty results. It’s so much easier to blame “the other” than to see real sin and our complicity in it. Our whole system of living… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Jo–it’s hard to know how you miss the obvious. The position being taken here is that to hold the view that sexuality is to be confined to marriage between a man a woman is wrong. It is harmful. It is a view held by judgmental conservatives. It is being imposed by these evil people. If one says in response that LGBT folk themselves take this view; and if one encourages open discussion between the principles over these two different understandings; the responses turn shrill and there is a change of subject altogether. We get instead blaming, coercion, colonialism, bashing gays,… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

David Runcorn:

Evangelicals Now, Evangelical Times, English Churchman.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Jo,

Don’t you know it’s all about *them*, the conservatives?! Stop being so mean and insisting that you have a viewpoint that’s valid, or that you deserve to be heard! (Sarcasm, of course).

Jo
Guest
Jo

As soon as you start using words like “confined” then you’re talking about imposition. The positions “I believe that sexual relationships between people of the same sex can be blessed by God” and “I believe that sexual relationships between people of the same sex are forbidden by God” ard not equal and opposite. The allowance of the first view in no way precludes individuals acting on the second – they simply choose to remain celibate if that is their conviction (though that still raises the question of where that conviction springs from and to deny the impact of conservative teaching… Read more »

CRS
Guest
CRS

Jo–with respect, you are just tangling yourself up. There is a wide range of possible statements one could make. 1) the arena God has designed and blessed for sexual activity is the marriage of a man and a woman 2) sexual activity outside this arena falls short of God’s design 3) the term ‘marriage’ cannot be extended to new kinds of relationships different to # 1 above 4) sexual activity is good so long as two people consent to it, no matter who they are 5) and so on. The position taken by most conservatives is #1. The issue I… Read more »