Thursday, 4 February 2016

LGBTI Mission launched

Updated

The LGBTI Mission has issued a press release:

Christians unite to campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in Church of England

A group of Christians have come together to form the LGBTI Mission, which will campaign for the full acceptance and affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people within the Church of England.

The group, which is made up of LGBTI people and straight allies, including both clergy and lay people, will seek to remove all barriers to full participation for LGBTI people within the church. It launches during LGBT History Month, which this year is focused on the theme of Religion, Belief and Philosophy.

The priorities of the LGBTI Mission are centred on three key pillars:

  • Living: the belief that all LGBTI people, heterosexual friends and family, should be welcomed and affirmed by the Church of England…
  • Loving: the belief that God is love, and that life-long, faithful, stable same-sex relationships, and the relationships of those who undergo gender transition, should be celebrated by the Church of England
  • Serving: the belief that God calls LGBTI people to serve the world through the Church of England, and their ministries should be recognised and authorised..

Within these pillars, the Group has nine concrete objectives that it will be working to achieve, which will deliver positive outcomes for LGBTI people within the Church of England.

For more information go to the website.
The full manifesto is contained in a 16 page booklet which can be downloaded as a PDF from here.

Updates

There is some press coverage of this:

Church Times Madeleine Davies Mission targets C of E barriers to gay clergy

Telegraph John Bingham Gender transition services and same-sex weddings call for Church of England

Christian Today Mark Woods New Anglican pressure group will campaign for ‘full participation’ of gay people in Church

Ekklesia Christians unite to campaign for LGBTI equality in Church of England

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 12:30am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

I pray God's grace and blessing on this initiative, and feel thankful towards all those who have worked to set this up.

My hope is that it will attract many of the people who, for example, signed up to Jayne Ozanne's recent Letter to the Archbishops.

We need a coalition and network to champion LGBTI lives in the Church of England, and offer a voice and platform for the many (possibly majority) in the Church who accept and celebrate gay and lesbian love and gender diversity.

I hope that a trans individual can be recruited to help head this mission, or intersex individual, or non-binary person.

At the same time, there is a clear invitation to all who want to join in and support aspects of this mission.

If I have one small regret, it is that in 'Living:3' the rights of LGBTI people to various church rites are listed, but marriage is left out.

For many of us, the failure of the Church of England to accept ALL people's right and longing to marriage before God, and before our communities, is a grievous matter of exclusion, that infers a Church that still regards lesbian and gay sexuality as somehow 'less ideal' in terms of lifelong, committed, devoted and tender love.

But even so, I applaud this initiative - handled with grace and courage, this could become a platform for a combined voice that grows and grows.

Of course, it needs to be more than words. It needs to translate into actions - so proposed liturgies are welcome, active celebration of marriages are important, and the courage to stand up publicly and in practice (and good conscience) to say: "Actually, THIS is what most of us in the Church of England believe." And to stand side by side with LGBTI people who have to often been marginalised in the Church, or hurt by negative views of their lives and relationships.

As I have said many times, we need a network and a platform for - frankly - resistance. Because the status quo does not represent the views of the actual Church, and the status quo is unjust. More than that, it attempts to impose one conscience upon another, and demand uniformity.

This mission demonstrates there is no such uniformity, yet rightly states that in our Church we can live with one another, and love one another, even where we have differing and opposing views on human sexuality.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 1:05am GMT

Actually, on further reading I can see that there is a clear intention to press for the right of local parishes to celebrate marriages (regardless of genders) via a decision of General Synod.

There is a little confusion on the website, because the Priorities are listed in a different order (and numbered 1 to 9) on the Priorities page, compared to the order they are listed (and numbered 1 to 3) on the individual 'Living', 'Loving' and 'Serving' pages.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 1:38am GMT

This sounds and looks very positive.

I feel sure this mission will do much good, and permanently takes things forward on many levels.


Thank you.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 2:06am GMT

At last! A clear statement of the things we need to move towards being a fully inclusive church. I am more than ready to put my shoulder to this wheel. Prayers, of course, but more than happy to give time and effort for this.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 7:33am GMT

Very heartening to learn that this is a specifically Anglican mission - very different from the so-called "AMiE". This is inclusive, rather than divisive.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 9:52am GMT

Does this group have a strategy for what it might do and for how to bring about this change?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 10:17am GMT

Anyone who, like me, didn't notice the practical strategy items, they start in the side bars of the Mission Statement from page 5.

Some fantastic initiatives there!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 11:53am GMT

Erika, they outline basic strategy in their booklet. The crucial thing is that England now has a united campaign with clear objectives.

This is fantastic news, and exactly what's needed for change. Well done to all involved.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 12:27pm GMT

Clear, practical and unapologetic. Fantastic initiative !

Posted by: Revd Dr Charles Clapham, Vicar St Peter's Hammersmith on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 1:06pm GMT

GREAT signs of hope here.Now we need a plan and a strategy for moving forward and a list of tasks for us to do

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 3:29pm GMT

Telegraph John Bingham "Gender transition services ... call for Church of England"

Nice calm, non-hysterical headline there, Torygraph. }-/

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 7:44pm GMT

In the words of the blessed Keith Richards
"New song, same old story"

Posted by: Paul on Thursday, 4 February 2016 at 8:48pm GMT

Well done, Simon, Savi, and everyone else.

The Church Times article is superb.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 1:58am GMT

And a terrific article in The Church of England Newspaper.

Very well done to those behind it.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 5:53pm GMT

Unfortunately there's a thread on Facebook which has some extremely negative comments about this welcome initiative. The accusation is that there is no coherent theological justification for the things the group stands for. I think that an important part of the group's work will be to be very explicit about setting out the theological basis for its position, so that this accusation can be shown to be empty, even if the accusers themselves won't ever be convinced.

Amusingly, perhaps, the Facebook authors and commenters accuse LGBTI of being an alphabet soup organisation which has prejudged the outcome of the "facilitated conversations". Alphabet soup: GAFCON? ACNA? AMIE? Prejudging outcome: glass houses/stones? Motes and beams?

Posted by: Turbulent Priest on Friday, 5 February 2016 at 10:43pm GMT

'The accusation is that there is no coherent theological justification for the things the group stands for...'

And see http://www.psephizo.com/sexuality-2/what-do-supporters-of-same-sex-marriage-believe-and-why/

The article looks at the recent survey and concludes 'So it appears that they are pressing the Church to adopt a position that represents the view of those who don’t attend—and no evidence has been offered to contradict this assessment.'

I agree with Turbulent Priest that the case needs to be very explicit for a strongly orthodox and biblically based position that supports and promotes marriage as a sacramental relationship which is God's gift in creation for all people. Of course such a case has already been made by many and perhaps the need for the current conversations lies in the fact that it is one thing to be explicit, it is quite another thing to get others to listen.

Posted by: Nigel LLoyd on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 8:14am GMT

Congratulations, Simon! Prayers & Blessings.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 9:17am GMT

Turbulent Priest, thankfully, our task is not to change the opinions of every extreme anti-gay person in the church. All we need to do is change the opinions of the middle ground. The recent survey showed that this is increasingly successful. The big battle ground will be General Synod, but there too, it only takes a 2/3 majority. A tough task indeed, but not an impossible one.
We do not need to stare at the extreme conservatives on this issue like rabbits caught in the headlights. They matter less than they would like to think.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 10:09am GMT

' very explicit for a strongly orthodox and biblically based position that supports and promotes marriage as a sacramental relationship which is God's gift in creation for all people. Of course such a case has already been made' by many.

Yes, yes, I suppose so - if you like. But this language means nothing to many of the public; and it means something to me, and I wish it didn't. It leaves me cold. This is or has been the language used to oppress lgbt down the decades.

The great unstated factor- elephant if you will - in this and indeed much religious discussion and pronouncement, is the fact that all religion(s) are the productions of human culture, expressions of our spiritual aspirations, and the stories we tell ourselves and each other.

This being so, it makes little sense to parse every word of Bible or Creed etc., let alone to haggle over who has 'the truth'. Surely, we all do / may -- while none of us do.

So the Churches and we all need to become more honest, more adult if possible, more inwardly secure, in our existential uncertainties.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 12:07pm GMT

I wonder if the campaign is successful, what the next will be? It appears that those on the women bishop issue have rolled on here. I am reminded of a FiF priest who said, having been an active member for many years, that he had sacrificed his own congregation in his political pursuit. How much energy goes into these campaigns as opposed to the actual business of introducing people to who Jesus is?

Posted by: Paul on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 12:09pm GMT

Nigel Lloyd,
the survey compared the views people who claimed an affiliation with Anglicanism had three years ago with the views the same people hold now.
That's what it was intended to do.

It is also very difficult to define church membership. Our established status and parish system make it impossible to narrow it down to people who attend regularly -and that's before you define "regular".

I'm not sure what is gained by dismissing those who, despite all the decline of the CoE, still want to claim some affiliation with it.

But there is an easy solution - those who don't trust the survey and who want to know what people who attend their churches believe only need to raise some money (under £2000 including VAT) and commission a reputable institute with a survey of regulars. Or regulars in conservative churches. Or young people in conservative churches... of whatever they might find helpful to formulate their future strategy.

As for no coherent theological justification - we're not basing our theology on the outcome of the survey. The theology is independent of that.

Whether pro-gay theology is coherent or not will be decided by General Synod - not by one single blogger.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 6 February 2016 at 6:01pm GMT

Rearranging deck chairs......after years of negative evidence, even under rowan Williams....it is Time for tec(UK) and some integrity at last

Posted by: S Cooper on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 2:27pm GMT
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