Wednesday, 26 February 2014

LGBTI Anglican Coalition sends open letter to House of Bishops

As a follow-up to the press release issued last week in response to the House of Bishops Pastoral Statement, the LGBTI Anglican Coalition has sent an open letter to all members of the House of Bishops.

The statement on the Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage, issued by the House of Bishops 14 February 2014 has caused a great deal of anger and dismay amongst the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Communities, not least because its tone and action has foreclosed on many of the issues which should be the subject of the facilitated discussions called for in the Pilling Report. We remain committed to these discussions but given the breakdown in trust which has resulted from recent actions it is now even more important that these conversations take place in a way which is not only impartial, but which is seen to be impartial by all of the bodies that are concerned.

We look forward to the opportunity of continued debate, and the open letter, attached, which has been sent to the House of Bishops of the Church of England is intended to help to rebuild some of the ground upon which the debate may take place…

The full text of the letter can be read here.

A blog article which conveniently summarises the letter has been published by Ekklesia: Savi Hensman Bishops face searching questions on same-sex marriage guidance:

…Emphasising “the traditional Anglican ‘insistence upon the duty of thinking and learning as essential elements in the Christian life’ (Lambeth Conference 1930) and ‘facing with intellectual integrity the questions raised by modern knowledge’ (Lambeth 1958)”, it asks how the House of Bishops has informed itself of the work of theologians arguing for greater acceptance from 1940 to the present.

Three-and-a-half decades after the start of a formal process of studying sexuality, including dialogue with lesbian and gay people, it asks how the findings have informed the thinking of the House of Bishops.

The letter also makes the point that “there are many LGBTI clergy who, in good conscience seeking to model their household according to the way of Christ, are intending to marry or to convert their civil partnership to marriage”, and asks “How will you ensure that these clergy can contribute fully and equally to the proposed discussions, without fear of sanction?”

In addition “we would ask how you intend to resolve the issues of the presumed bipolarity of male and female in gender and sexual orientations and in their relationships in the light of the latest scientific and theological knowledge” so that all “who seek to enter committed, loving and faithful relationships can find their rightful place within a renewed church which draws its teaching from the New Covenant and the unconditional love of Christ?”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 12:18pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

This is an excellent letter.
I hope there will be an official reply.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 1:16pm GMT

People are writing letters to the House of Bishops.

I suspect that the responses they will get will be reminiscent of the letter written to Goodman Derrick & Co in the celebrated case of Arkell v Pressdram (1971) [unreported].

I suggest Savi read

Because that is what the Bishops think of your letters.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 5:10pm GMT

The response to my letter to the Bishop of Chichester is frankly unintelligible. I have had no response from Lambeth.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 6:15pm GMT

A very good and positive action by the LGBTI coalition in the Church of England. The Bishops will certainly need to sit up and take notice - especially in the light of Uganda's recent bigoted misunderstanding of the human rights of its LGBTI citizens - aided and abetted by the Church there.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 9:50pm GMT

I believe those who draft this stuff should focus on the principle of our fullest participation in all aspects of further proposals.
It should be underlined time and time again, ad nauseum, that the reason the CofE continues to stagger from crisis through pastoral disaster to spiritual catastrophe is, their failure to talk with gay people, to deal with them as "US" instead of some fetid sore they are desperate to excise.
Everything should begin from this premise.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 11:01pm GMT

"The Bishops will certainly need to sit up and take notice - especially in the light of Uganda's recent bigoted misunderstanding of the human rights of its LGBTI citizens - aided and abetted by the Church there."

There have now been reports of murders and anti-LGBT gangs beating people in Uganda. And all we hear is silence from Lambeth...

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Thursday, 27 February 2014 at 2:39am GMT

Martin, I know I'm a pedantic classicist, and it's George Herbert's feast day, but if I may be allowed: it's 'ad nauseam,' it's the feminine accusative of nausea, which is a good old English word too now. This mistake has become a meme.

Posted by: Lorenzo on Thursday, 27 February 2014 at 8:50am GMT

The letter is a fine example of how to model Anglican thinking on a contested issue. It takes seriously the contexts and lived experiences of LGBTI, and calls for dialogue and reciprocal learning. It locates itself historically (e.g., earlier debates on contraception in the CofE). It does so with a cool, irenic tone - but also conveys a sense of urgency, Yet it is not at all shrill. To date, the better and more measured theological reasoning is all coming from the LGBTI corner rather than the bishops. This bodes well for change.

Posted by: Martyn Percy on Thursday, 27 February 2014 at 2:26pm GMT

Seven years of Latin just had no impact it seems .....

What I mean is, we should be rubbing their noses into it!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 27 February 2014 at 4:55pm GMT
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