Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Church of Ireland statement on human sexuality

A Statement From The Archbishops And Bishops Of The Church Of Ireland.

We met over three days in an atmosphere of prayer and worship to reflect on current disquiet in the Church caused by disagreements on the matter of human sexuality. We acknowledge that this tension is a cause of distress to many.

Our discussions were frank and careful and, at times, painful. We committed ourselves to listen carefully to one another and speak openly about our differences within the context of a variety of reactions within the Church. Strengthened by our honest interchange of views, we corporately agreed a way forward.

A pastoral letter to the Church will be issued through the Clergy in the next few days. It will highlight key themes and outline a process by which the Church may move forward. This will involve a major conference in Spring 2012 to which members of the General Synod and others will be invited. The conference will provide an important opportunity to learn from and listen to one another as the Church strives to discern the mind of Christ.

As Bishops we commit ourselves to work together on these issues. In addition, we envisage that further study and research on biblical, theological and legal issues will be required.

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland

  • The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh
  • The Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough
  • The Most Revd Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath & Kildare
  • The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down & Dromore
  • The Rt Revd Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross
  • The Rt Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh
  • The Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry & Raphoe
  • The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel & Ossory
  • The Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor
  • The Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe
  • The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry
  • The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 6:18pm BST | TrackBack
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Changing Attitude Ireland has issued this comment:
http://changingattitude.org.uk/archives/4486

The Secretary of Changing Attitude Ireland, Canon Charles Kenny, welcomed the Church of Ireland Archbishops' and Bishops' Statement on human sexuality. According to Canon Kenny

“Changing Attitude Ireland are happy to hear that the Bishops are committing themselves to listening and speaking openly about these complicated issues. It is our hope and prayer that churchmen and women will respond to this call for serious and thoughtful seeking out of the mind of Christ for our day” He added that “We hope that the atmosphere at the proposed Conference will make it possible for gay and lesbian church people, lay and clerical, to participate honestly in the discussion about human sexuality”.

Changing Attitude Ireland is a Church of Ireland group with ecumenical friends, gay and heterosexual, lay and ordained, working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons within our churches. It is dedicated to celebrating and maintaining the traditional inclusivity and diversity of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 6:26pm BST

Personally, but not just personally, I am glad to see Canon Charles Kenny active in this debate. He taught at my father's school (if one may so put it) and sometimes came to our family house in Belfast. In the Church of Ireland there is both great benevolence and great malignity. May the former prevail! There is no doubt that it will prevail - ultimately. Personally also, I greatly rejoice that Gerry Lynch (than which no name could be more RC) has found a loving home in the Church of Ireland, at St George's (not an Irish name). There are many ironies here - there always are to people of any sense - but let the good prevail! Spoken, of course, by a rather distinguished pagan (identity avalable on request). But the distinction between the benevolent (of many hues) and the malevolent (of many hues) always trumps all others.

Posted by: john on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 8:27pm BST

"current disquiet in the Church caused by disagreements on the matter of human sexuality. We acknowledge that this tension is a cause of distress"

Translation: people like me are defined (objectified, dehumanized) as "The Problem".

Lord have mercy.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 10:22pm BST

Rejoice, Folks; at least the Church of Ireland is ready and willing (officially) to task the plunge - to actually LISTEN to the LGBT community. This is much more than certain Provinces of the Anglican Communion are willing to do. May the life-giving Holy Spirit direct and guide the 2012 Conference.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 11:30pm BST

Fr Ron Smith is mistaken, if he is basing his view that the Church of Ireland is beginning a process of officially listening to the LGBT community, on the statement above.

There is no mention of doing so.

So far as I am aware from the outside, the C of I has done as little towards listening to LGBT voices in all of this, as most provinces have done. There is a danger that they will now choose, as others have done, to go down the line of listening to voices of schism and division instead of LGBT voices.

"Listening to one another" falls a very long way short of engaging with LGBT people, as the Changing Attitude Ireland statement seems to implicitly acknowledge.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 9:22am BST

Never despair, Kelvin! (That's one of our besetting sins - among those of us who embrace the Inclusive Mission of the Church). To pre-judge what might happen at the 2012 Conference in the C.of I., is to bolster the ambitions of the anti-Gay school. Let's all be prepared to be surprised by the open-ness to what the H.S. is saying to the Church. If we speak negatively - before it happens - it may never happen

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 10:43am BST

I think there is about as much chance of the Church of Ireland officially sanctioning gay ordination and blessings as there is of it joining with the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 11:41am BST

Generally, heterosexuals move v e r y v e r y slowly - and only when they feel they Must.

As for listening - they are not great listeners - too full of their own rectitude, their own (hurt) feelings and their impeccable rights.

Leaves one how the Church can be, in any meaningful sense body of Christ.

Indeed, I didnt find the British Museum show on relics and reliquaries fill me with much hope for the Christian tradition given such a history. I don't wish to see another reliquary for a Very Long time ! But please take this too as metaphorical on my part. The tradition seems to have lost the plot, lost sight of the message of Jewish teacher very early on in its history. It is relevant to the failure of gay rights in (all) the Churches.,

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 5:55pm BST

Perhaps you need to rediscover the tradition - it is glorious and liberating.

Posted by: William on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 12:43am BST

*Leaves one how the Church can be, in any meaningful sense body of Christ.*

It isn't - just a convenient social organization at which the individuals which form the Body can meet one another. I wouldn't invest too much in its authority - it does enough of that, itself.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 4:42am BST

Laurence, I am deeply hurt by your comment. If you do not want to consider those who support equal rights on here, please consider Bishop Christopher Senyonjo an elderly straight bishop who risks his life to speak up for gay rights.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 9:17am BST

Here we go again, everyone getting their knickers in a twist, and showing clearly the fear and angst of their idividual situations.
I have just finished reading the Bishop of New Hampshire's book, The eye of the storm'. A little dated maybe but worth every moment of reading. A true man of God rejoicing in the Love of God in Christ, inspite of the hurt, threats and injustice meted out ; including the rudeness of Rowan. Archbishop of Canterbury.
Give the Church of Ireland Bishops a chance, and let the Holy Spirit come afire.
Anything else is like petrol to the narrow minded 'Christians' who would make Gods love so small.
Remember the words of Fabers hymn, There is a widness in Gods Mercy... the whole hymn.

Fr John Scotland

Posted by: Fr John on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 2:05pm BST

"...Like the wideness of the sea" (Father Faber knew a thing or two).

Good on you, Fr. John. God will have the last, and definitive: WORD - made flesh in Jesus.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 6:12am BST

'Generally, heterosexuals...As for listening - they are not great listeners - too full of their own rectitude, their own (hurt) feelings and their impeccable rights.'

Oh, the irony of a *thinking* anglican making such a blanket statement. It would, of course, be unconscionable, for a heterosexual to preface remarks here with the phrase, 'Generally, homosexuals...'!

Posted by: David Shepherd on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 11:12pm BST

Further to Fr John of Scotland's reminder about the words of the Father Faber Hymn (461 EH);
I wonder if our host would permit me to repeat verses 3,4,5 ?

"For the Love of God is broader
Than the measure of men's mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

"But we make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify his strictness
With a zeal he will not own.

"There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head

Amen to that!

"Fore the love of God is broader

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 10 October 2011 at 11:43am BST

The problem, David, is that we homosexuals *do* get that, entirely too much. You make the mistake of believing that all conservatives are like you and use their intelligence to find truth.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 at 4:56am BST

"A true man of God rejoicing in the Love of God in Christ, inspite of the hurt, threats and injustice meted out ; including the rudeness of Rowan. Archbishop of Canterbury."

In other words, in spite of . . . the church.

Is it possible that someone with the title "Father" might *just* have a bit of a bias toward the institution? Might *just* have a little bit of a blind spot in relation to the idea that Christ acts - most often - despite the "church" rather than through it?

After all, bishop or no, the man you quote is - first and foremost - an individual and not an institution.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 at 5:00am BST

It would, of course, be unconscionable, for a heterosexual to preface remarks here with the phrase, 'Generally, homosexuals...'!

Posted by: David Shepherd on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 11:12pm BST

David it is done all the time by straights-- be a bit more honest won t you-if only with yourself !

Another personal generalisation for you - I find the society created and run by the heteroseuxal majority pretty blinkered, arrogant and greatly in need of what lesbian, gay, bi and trans folk could contribute -if allowed !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 4:05pm BST

Laurence,

When I stated 'unconscionable, for a heterosexual to preface remarks here', it meant just what I said. That is, a sweeping generalisation about homosexuals *here* on this thread would not be tolerated by contributors *here* (as yours largely was, apart from Rosemary Hannah's refreshing challenge to your comment).

I only distinguished the reaction to such remarks here. I did not suggest that the tendency to generalise was the preserve of a particular sexual orientation.

Of course, I might be tempted to assume that tendency to be evenly distributed across the population without regard to sexual orientation. However, without hard evidence,...well, that would be a generalisation in itself, wouldn't it?

Posted by: David Shepherd on Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 12:02am BST

I've become convinced, Laurence, that while LGBT owe absolutely *nothing* to the institutional church, the church owes more than it can ever possibly pay to us.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 5:54am BST
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