Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Ozanne Foundation launched

The Ozanne Foundation, whose formation was announced last December, held a formal launch event on Monday.

This press release was issued: Ozanne Foundation Unveils Strategy to Combat Prejudice.

At the event, Bishop Paul Bayes, chair of the trustees, delivered this speech.

News reports of the event:

Guardian Rejection by C of E has driven LGBT people to suicide, bishop says

Christian Today Bishop and senior clergyman join calls for Church of England to lose equalities exemptions

Telegraph The Church of England should lose its exemption to discrimination laws, Dean of St Paul’s says

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 at 10:59pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

Well done David Ison and Paul Bayes. They are publicly associating with the marginalized and calling for their inclusion. They are not just calling on other people to make changes or address a problem, but are openly saying that we, the Church of England, are getting it wrong and need to change. How refreshing. How wonderful.

It will take time, but it is this sort of advocacy which is most likely to deliver change. Here is a bishop getting it right. Paul asked for radical inclusion and here he is, showing it wasn't just words, but a value he is trying to live.

Excellent.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 3:44am BST

I agree Kate - and I was honoured to be there at the launch, along with many others. May God bless this initiative.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 9:03am BST

Are the Ozanne Foundation trustees calling for the marriage of same-sex couples to be made possible within the Church of England?

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 1:57pm BST

Kelvin, if not they ought to be. I accept that we may only get formal permission for clergy to bless civil marriage but this must only be a step on the way.

Likewise clergy must be allowed to marry now and this must be non negotiable. The church’s hypocrisy around the pretence that only celibate civil partnerships are acceptable must be challenged now.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 5:09pm BST

I gather that the Ozanne Foundation trustees are not currently in a position whereby they are calling for marriage to be opened to same-sex couples in the Church of England.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 7:07pm BST

For the record, the only thing I have said publicly is that I am not discussing this (or being goaded into discussing this!) on social media.

Posted by: Jayne Ozanne on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 8:01pm BST

"I gather that the Ozanne Foundation trustees are not currently in a position whereby they are calling for marriage to be opened to same-sex couples in the Church of England."

But they are highlighting that the barriers to welcome and inclusion need to be identified and removed. Litigation lawyers are trained to appreciate the value of asking questions to which they already know the answer. I think we are in that sort of territory.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 8:26pm BST

Since a serving diocesan bishop's their chair, Kelvin, that's a given.

Normally, I'd dismiss a organization taking this line as yet another bunch of fence-sitters. However, the presence of the ferociously dedicated campaigner Jayne Ozanne checks that impulse. She isn't any kind of hand-wringing liberal: she's reported conservatives to the police for using "hate speech" on their own website, and defeated the bishops in Synod. I'm on her side, and I'd be terrified of crossing her.

That being so, I'll reserve judgment. I suspect that a much cleverer strategy's at work beneath the waterline.

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 10:21pm BST

My apologies for misunderstanding you Jayne. I thought you had said very clearly that they were not currently calling for marriage to be opened up to same-sex couples in the Church of England.

But I'm happy to ask again.

Are the Ozanne Foundation trustees (mostly members of the C of E) calling for marriage to be available to same-sex couples in the Church of England?

It is a reasonable question to ask of a new foundation working in this area isn't it? The answer will help people know whether to throw their weight behind it.

If the Ozanne Foundation trustees are calling for marriage to be opened up to same-sex couples in the Church of England, then there is much to celebrate.

If they are not, then it is not unreasonable for people to know that they are not supportive of that aim.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 11:39pm BST

Jayne has consistently called for same sex marriage. The charitable objectives of the Foundatiom explicitly mention equality.
That’s a pretty strong indication for what the Foundation stands for and the work Jayne will be doing.
Thank you for putting yourself out there, Jayne, working on all our behalf.
Together, we will change the church.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 4:33am BST

Kelvin,
I'm not sure what the point of asking again is, when Jayne has already said clearly that she will not be drawn into discussing this on social media.

You're clearly making the point that you don't believe the Trustees to be on Jayne's side.
I think we all get that now.

I go with what I know of Jayne and with the stated aims of the Foundation on its own website.

Quite apart from this specific issue, there is also a huge danger in constantly insisting that people clearly state that they are 100% on our side.
We get this time and time again when formerly conservative people come out, either as lgbt or as allies. The more high profile they are, the more they get it in the neck. From their conservative friends and colleagues for changing sides, and from us for not already doing more and therefore (implied) being obviously against us and not helpful.

The only thing that aggression achieves is to make it harder for others to follow suit and to start crossing the line. Because, honestly, why would you if people keep shouting as loudly as they can that it's all too little and not worth having?

I really wish we could all be a bit more welcoming and affirming of those who clearly show and say that they support us.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 9:48am BST

I'm aware of all that, Erika. But there is good reason for asking the question about the trustees.

After all, if the trustees (including a diocesan bishop, a cathedral dean, the editor of the Church of England Newspaper, the registrar for four dioceses, the Prolocutor of the Province of York etc) are calling for marriage to be opened up to same-sex couples then there is much to celebrate and the struggle for equality is advanced greatly.

On the other hand if those people, trustees of an organisation which has its strapline "We believe in just love for all" are unable to affirm that they believe that marriage in the Church of England should be opened to same-sex couples then far from being part of the solution to the problem, they are what the actual problem is.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 9:53am BST

Erika - could I ask you to withdraw the allegation that I am saying that the trustees of this foundation are not on Jayne's side.

I've never said that and it isn't true.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 10:57am BST

Kelvin,
I don't agree. There is much work to be done in the CoE, especially in conservative churches.
I remember a comparatively recent occasion when I gave a talk on the current sexuality and gender debate in the CoE, and I was severely berated by one of the people there who objected to me calling for pastoral support for gay people because they should not be encouraged!

Jayne will work primarily in the evangelical sector - because that's where the main battle is now being fought.
Marriage is an ultimate goal, but there is much work to be done first to normalise the idea that same sex relationships could be moral and God-given, and that gender dysphoria is not to be cured by insisting that people must just get used to it.

There are genuinely supportive people who still find the idea of marriage difficult but who would wholeheartedly support civil partnerships that are not celibate.

There is absolutely no need to risk all that work by making marriage the one and only yardstick. That would be pretty bad strategy when the purpose of campaigning is to change hearts and minds, as much as to change legislation.

It will eventually become that. But it isn't yet and it does not have to be the only criterion by which we assess our supporters.

I have no idea whether all or only some of the Trustees support SSM. I'm far more interested that they support equality and are willing to step out for it, and that they support Jayne - who clearly IS outspokenly for marriage.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 11:06am BST

Erika, I agreed with you until Jayne posted but didn't answer Kelvin. That makes me very sceptical.

The Foundation web page says that the Foundation works "with religious organisations around the world to *eliminate* discrimination based on sexuality or gender" (emphasis added). If the Foundation is true to its aims, answering Kelvin should be easy - no parish, minister or lay study leader should ever treat a same sex couple differently to a straight couple and the Foundation and all trustees are united in that aim. That's what "eliminate" means.

My initial enthusiasm is waning. If this is yet another organisation which believes that discrimination is acceptable then it is indeed part of the problem, not the solution. I am not interested in some parishes offering marriage but others not. What I need is to be able to walk into every church in England without fear of rejection if we want to take communion, want to marry or wish get involved in study groups.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 11:55am BST

Kelvin,
I withdraw the allegation that you believe that the trustees are not on Jayne's side.

You are certainly sowing seeds of doubt in people's minds that they are not on Jayne's side when she calls for marriage equality. And the implication is that the Foundation may be run by people who are part of the problem and that it is therefore not properly working in our favour. That may not be your intention.

The whole thing is a very sad diversion. Instead of focusing on all the good things this Foundation can achieve, we're getting bogged down into a debate about individual Trustees' views on marriage - which is only one of many issues Jayne is working for. And we're losing sight of the fact that it's Jayne who is doing the public working for, not the Trustees.

I really wish this thread could have been more positive and encouraging. Because this Foundation IS actually very very good news.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 3:22pm BST

Kelvin's last comment to me appeared here with a later time stamp than my earlier reply to him. Just in case my earlier comment didn't get through, I copy it again (my compliance with his later request is a second post written as soon as I saw it this afternoon).


Kelvin,
I don't agree. There is much work to be done in the CoE, especially in conservative churches.
I remember a comparatively recent occasion when I gave a talk on the current sexuality and gender debate in the CoE, and I was severely berated by one of the people there who objected to me calling for pastoral support for gay people because they should not be encouraged!

Jayne will work primarily in the evangelical sector - because that's where the main battle is now being fought.
Marriage is an ultimate goal, but there is much work to be done first to normalise the idea that same sex relationships could be moral and God-given, and that gender dysphoria is not to be cured by insisting that people must just get used to it.

There are genuinely supportive people who still find the idea of marriage difficult but who would wholeheartedly support civil partnerships that are not celibate.

There is absolutely no need to risk all that work by making marriage the one and only yardstick. That would be pretty bad strategy when the purpose of campaigning is to change hearts and minds, as much as to change legislation.

It will eventually become that. But it isn't yet and it does not have to be the only criterion by which we assess our supporters.

I have no idea whether all or only some of the Trustees support SSM. I'm far more interested that they support equality and are willing to step out for it, and that they support Jayne - who clearly IS outspokenly for marriage.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 4:08pm BST

Normally, I'd agree with Kelvin, but we must remember that Jayne Ozanne's achieved, at short notice, the only pro-equality victory to date in the CoE. From Higton on, the marginalized liberal caucus has failed dismally for 30 years, backing down time after time, from 'Issues ...' to Jeffrey John being forced out. That being so, she's earned the benefit of the doubt.

We must remember that the CoE isn't the SEC, and after the schismatic horror show across the Atlantic, its establishment won't dare alienate evangelicals. The only possible way equality's gonna come is by persuading the open evangelicals who run the church. Jayne Ozanne understands them, and has already gotten results. The pragmatist in me says that on this, she's best placed to take the lead.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 5:25pm BST

I've not said anything about Jayne. I've said nothing about the relationship between Jayne and the trustees of this new charity. Nor have I compared the C of E to any other province.

I know the US Episcopal Church quite well and I wouldn't describe it as a schismatic horror show.

I'm simply asking whether the trustees of this charity are able to support the call for marriage to be available to same-sex couples in the Church of England.

Noting the comment about diocesan bishops above, if it is any help, I'm happy to ask whether the trustees of this charity, with the exception of their chair, are calling for marriage to be available to same-sex couples in the Church of England.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 5:54pm BST

I think people who are personalising this are deflecting the debate from the question Kelvin asked about whether the Trustees *collectively* are calling for marriage equality. That's a very reasonable and important question.

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/letter-archbishops-canterbury-and-york-following-general-synod

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently called for "a radical new Christian inclusion". Who believes his understanding of inclusion is even close to what LGBTI people themselves seek? I think it is therefore understandable that some people might have reservations about the Ozanne Foundation unless the Trustees are very transparent.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 11:06pm BST

Kate, the trustees aren’t calling for anything. They are supporting Jayne with her new foundation, the aim of which is stated on its website.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 12 April 2018 at 11:47pm BST

The trustees' personal opinions on marriage equality will likely vary. If we're talking corporately, there's apparently no agreed position, and since Jayne Ozanne's made clear that it won't be discussed on social media, we'll have to accept that.

Regarding personalization, it's surely reasonable to look at the record of the people most involved when deciding how to recieve the new organization. Given that it's impressive, it's surely not unreasonable to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

And to clarify my comment about TEC, I wasn't referring to the church as a horror show (which it of course isn't): I was referring to the protracted split between the majority of Episcopalians and the ACNA, especially the ongoing litigation over real estate and other properties. The House of Bishops is never gonna countenance a repeat of that in England.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 12:35am BST

"I know the US Episcopal Church quite well and I wouldn't describe it as a schismatic horror show."

Thank you, Kelvin. Indeed, TEC is not a schismatic horror show. The number of people who left is tiny, they were just rich, powerful, entitled, and tried to make off with the property. You really can't use TEC as an excuse for injustice.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 1:31am BST

I don’t quite understand what is at stake here and what this foundation will do- But from the perspective of someone who has never quite been a church insider, I moved to Tennessee and ended up for a couple of years at a church I came to love. Only to realize several,years in that the priest was using words he knew I would think meant he would marry a same sex couple, but were actually words like ‘not discriminate’, and he actually did not think same sex marriages were legitimate. I don’t know that I have recovered from that experience- People that just show up, that don’t know the code words, they deserve truth telling.

Posted by: Melissa Holloway on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 2:51am BST

Melissa,
yes, churches who do not support lgbt equality should not use fuzzy language to pretend that they do.

But we're talking about a new campaigning and education body here, headed up by a widely known lesbian lgbti+ rights campaigner who has spoken on television, radio and in the press as well as in many church publications about marriage equality. The Foundation bears her name, she's the only one doing the work here.

There is absolutely no question about where the foundation is heading.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 9:46am BST

My question is a policy question and a simple and straightforward one.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 10:02am BST

"There is absolutely no question about where the foundation is heading." Agreed, Erika. This isn't being decided by people for whom equality's an abstract issue, or whose commitment to the cause is under the slightest doubt.

I admit: personally, I couldn't make the compromise around equal marriage. But I'm not an evangelical, and I haven't secured the sole defeat of the bishops on this issue.

Realpolitik is that, if the organization demanded equal marriage, the Bishop of Liverpool would likely feel obliged to step down, and the vast majority of evangelicals would instantly dismiss this group as unsound, as they've already dismissed Steve Chalke and Vicky Beeching. (Both of whom had major league cachet in evangelical circles prior to their falls from grace.) If delaying an open commitment to equal marriage helps move evangelical opinion towards equality and end discrimination, maybe it's justified in this case. Other groups will continue to vigorously argue for it.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 11:21am BST

"There is absolutely no question about where the foundation is heading."

So it is an easy [and pretty fundamental] question then isn't it?

Do the trustees of the Ozanne Foundation support those who are seeking to ensure that same-sex couples can get married in the Church of England?

Can you speak for the foundation and answer the question Erika?

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 11:46am BST

"There is absolutely no question about where the foundation is heading."

When basic questions are avoided, doubt is inevitable. My best guess is that the Foundation is a coalition of people who believe the status quo is unacceptable but who don't share a common vision of the desired end point. Credit to Jayne, if I am right, for assembling a coalition. Indeed credit to all those involved.

But transparency is very much a Christian virtue. I recoil from James's suggestion that the Foundation should be coy on grounds of expediency.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 12:56pm BST

Meanwhile, perhaps overlooked because ACNS posted it on the Friday afternoon before Palm Sunday:

"Provisional plans for a season of repentance and prayer across the Anglican Communion next year have been put forward by the Task Group which was set up after the Primates’ Meeting in 2016. The season would be launched with the publication of a specific prayer and would run from Pentecost until late in 2019.

"The Group, which has been meeting in London this week, said the season would focus on individual provinces week by week. Materials to support the season will be gathered and distributed by the Anglican Communion Office."

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2018/03/archbishop-of-canterburys-relationships-task-group-plans-season-of-repentance-and-prayer.aspx

I hope no one is suggesting that the more liberal provinces should "repent" from making all the sacraments available to all the baptised. Those would be fighting words. That kind of "season of repentance" would be another own goal by the Communion Office.

So... Who is supposed to "repent," exactly? And of what?

And don't we already have an Anglican Cycle of Prayer?

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 6:55pm BST

Perhaps I could ask a new question as a bit of relief from keeping repeating the question above which hasn't been answered.

Under English charity law, who determines policy for a charity? Is it the charity's trustees or the charity's employees?

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 7:38pm BST

I didn't suggest that they be "coy," Kate: I said that they likely can't agree on a corporate position, and given the circumstances, it may be justified to move forward without one, at least initially. I also said that it's not a position I could take myself, and that other groups can (and should) continue to advocate equal marriage.

I likewise recoil from this, but I also recoil from the situation the Anglican Communion finds itself in, and from every day that passes without it being set right. I don't see this group disbanding over marriage equality (the likely alternative) hastening the end of discrimination.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 13 April 2018 at 7:54pm BST

"I also recoil from the situation the Anglican Communion finds itself in, and from every day that passes without it being set right."

It took the Reformation to stop the Church - or at least our part of it - believing it could act as gatekeeper between God and His people in terms of forgiveness. I fear it will take something as momentous before the Church gives up its role as gatekeeper in terms of the sacrament of marriage and accepts that those seeking the sacrament are the ones to discern whether it is God's will for them to marry, not the Church or individual priests.

Posted by: Kate on Sunday, 15 April 2018 at 8:43am BST

"Under English charity law, who determines policy for a charity? Is it the charity trustees or the charity's employees?"

Generally I think you'll find that it's the Trustees role to keep policy in line with its legally stated Charitable Objects and to ensure the employee works to those ends.

Posted by: Ian H on Sunday, 15 April 2018 at 3:06pm BST

"And to clarify my comment about TEC, I wasn't referring to the church as a horror show (which it of course isn't): I was referring to the protracted split between the majority of Episcopalians and the ACNA, especially the ongoing litigation over real estate and other properties. The House of Bishops is never gonna countenance a repeat of that in England."

First of all, CoE is the established church, so it doesn't seem like schismatics would be able to run off with the property. Since your Parliament and Queen are part of it all, schismatics would have to leave. I can't imagine that Parliament would countenance a church that is even more bigoted than CoE.

Second, what you are saying about the House of Bishops is that they will NEVER do justice or be the Good News to the oppressed because they would never countenance a schism from oppressors within the church.

In TEC there was a group of people who could not countenance a church where they couldn't bully LGBTQI people and exclude women. So CoE's answer to that is to appease the bullies and let LGBTQI people take it on the chin, constantly.

Using TEC's "schismatic horror show" as an excuse for the established church is nonsense. Hopefully, the Ozanne Foundation can help put an end to false equivalencies and fake news that are created to shield injustice.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 16 April 2018 at 3:40am BST

"Second, what you are saying about the House of Bishops is that they will NEVER do justice or be the Good News to the oppressed because they would never countenance a schism from oppressors within the church."

Others might be saying that, I don't know, but even for an anticlericalist like me, that is too strong.

Essentially, the House of Bishops believes that straight people can discern the will of God as to whether and *where* they should marry, and whether the marriage should be celibate or sexual, but the House of Bishops doesn't believe that LGBTI people are capable of discerning the will of God. Whatever compromise is reached, the majority or accepted minority teaching of the Church is always going to be that LGBTI people cannot accurately discern the will of God for their relationships.

Posted by: Kate on Monday, 16 April 2018 at 8:36am BST

It's a bit worrying to have religious leaders asking the state to remove the freedom of religion of a religious organisation! Doesn't Mr Ison want churches to be able follow Jesus... Does he prefer to have the state decide what we have to believe, say and do? That sounds rather like the appeal of other religious leaders some time ago... who demanded action from the state to solve their problem - on the basis that "we have no King but Caesar"!
If he doesn't want to follow Jesus, there are plenty of other religions, or he can make his own up, but please think before demanding that the state remove freedom of religion, or of political belief, or family rights, or any other freedom inherent in being human... including the freedom to be "wrong"!

Posted by: RevDave on Tuesday, 17 April 2018 at 3:22pm BST

Kate 'the House of Bishops doesn't believe that LGBTI people are capable of discerning the will of God.' This claim has no basis. Where have they stated this? Please. It is not helpful to generalise like this. We know they are not all agreed in this continuing discussion - even if they seem unable to be transparent about it.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Thursday, 19 April 2018 at 11:25am BST

"This claim has no basis."

Of course it has a basis. Kate identified the basis. And I'm convinced she is right.

The Church allows straight people to determine whether and when God wants them to celebrate the sacrament of marriage. The Church denies that permission to LGBTI people.

Of course the bishops won't "state this" in these terms. What did you expect? But it is this stark, and this nasty. It is rank discrimination, and there is no denying it or dressing it up as anything else.

If what you really mean is that the House of Bishops isn't unanimous, then that is distinct point. But on that reasoning, we could never say "the House of Bishops" did, thought, or said anything. Yet we do that all the time.

We all understand that the House of Bishops is a collective group, and that there may be individuals within it who disagree.

To whatever extent that the House of Bishops works by consensus, that kind of decision-making slows down change and is surely part of the problem.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 19 April 2018 at 9:28pm BST

Jeremy Kate's statement was unambiguous in what it claimed. I think it is clear what I meant too - that they do not all, so It remains unsubstantiated - by you also. No bishop I know would agree with her statement. But I also agree with your comment about the problems they making for themselves by going down the route of corporate/collegial decision making. During the lengthy journey towards voting for the ordination of women we all knew where each bishop stood and they were free to say so and thus to contribute to the wider debate. I cannot understand why we have lost this kind of wider transparency and honesty.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Monday, 23 April 2018 at 3:28pm BST
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