Comments: Inclusive Church statement on civil partners pensions

BRAVO! This is truly a wonderful moment for the Anglican Communion in general and The Church of England in particular. It will be interesting to see comments from various groups that disagree with this historic moment in the life of the Church. This action is another step in the direction of inclusion instead of exclusion and therefore, most closely follows Christ's example. I look forward to The Church of England's first female shepherdess and I hope this happens sooner rather than later.

Posted by Chris Smith at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 11:25pm GMT

"This vote underlines Archbishop Rowan Williams' earlier comments (n Synod) and clearly demonstrates that the Church of England is opposed to all forms of homophobia. I hope that this will be the beginning of a new openness towards LGBT people in the Church."
- Giles Goddard, Inclusive Church -

AMEN and Amen!

Thanks to those in the Church of England General Synod who, after the Archbishop of Canterbury's moving affirmation of Gay clergy and others in the Church, have set their seal on their outreach towards surviving Civil Partners of deceased clergy in the Church of England. One wonders how many other Provinces of the Anglican Communion have yet shown this official approval of the pension rights of Civil Partnerships?

Thetre is no doubt in my mind that Rowan's brave and moving affirmation of the ministry of Gay and female Clergy within the Church of England and throughout the Christian Church - together with his clear denunciation of the Ugandan Church's role in continuing homophobia in the Church of Uganda - has helped the Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Church of England to enter into a new and wholesome phase of understanding the rightful place of LGBTs and women in the Church and the world of today.

The Holy Spirit is still working in the courts of the General Synod! Deo Gratias!

What then, does this have to say about the G.S. vote on the affirmation of ACNA? I see it as an affirmation of fellow Christians - while yet not totally affirming of their stance on certain aspects of how to present the Gospel in the world of today. The membership of ACNA in the Anglican Communion has yet to be accepted by the Church of England - and indeed, by more of the Communion than have yet stepped out to affirm their own ecclesial connection with ACNA - before anyone could say that ACNA meets the standard of behaviour required to become part of the diversity that has been traditionally Anglican, bearing in mind that their schismatic separation has been entirely of their own making.

In other words, ACNA would have to show its willingness to accept diversity within the Anglican Communion - and a preparedness to live together with TEC and the A.C.of C.'s stand on women's and the LGBT community's place in the Church - before the Anglican Communion could accept the membership of ACNA, or any other soldality, within it's ecclesial fellowship.

Any breakaway putative leadership by the likes of Archbishop's Urombi, Akinola, Venables or Duncan would have to call itself something other than by the name of 'Anglican', a title which has always stood for true collegiality and freedom from magisterial rule by any one of it's partners.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 11:40pm GMT

Father Ron Smith asks: "One wonders how many other Provinces of the Anglican Communion have yet shown this official approval of the pension rights of Civil Partnerships?"

The Scottish Episcopal Church did this a number of years ago.

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 8:28am GMT

I suppose this action speaks louder than words. It makes the RCC look totally benighted in contrast.

Clerics have an unconscious arrogance in setting themselves up as granting gays the right to live their lives (this applies especially to liberal clerics). Now the development of glbt values is happening quite independently of clerical comment or control and our adjustments to this are just seen as rearranging deckchairs.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:23am GMT

This is going to sound like a flame, but it's really not. I'm just ignorant.
How does Lambeth Resolution 1:10 relate to the Church of England? (I understand that it was a Lambeth Conference - therefore Anglican Communion resolution not a CofE one)

Having an organisation which says that something is wrong, whilst at the same time providing support and encouragement for that same thing just makes us all look rediculous.
Right now I feel that it would be better for the church to split than to just pretend that there's unity where there clearly isn't. The problem is that we'd also end up fighting over the family silver.

Final thought.... the name calling (and I'm sure there is some from both sides) is really unhelpful, as is the triumphalism.

Posted by PeterB at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:35am GMT

Thanks be to God.

Indeed the Holy Spirit is abroad, and due respect must be given to Archbishop Rowan for his words in his presidential address. Not easy to say sorry, when so many 'christians' take the negative view of LGBT, and others with whom they disagree.

May this move be the beginning of a light to lighten all, and a move to an inclusive church.

I have been a priest in the Church of England for many, many years, and although I now live in Scotland, my roots and home is still with the Church of England. I love my visits south, and true worship at the Mass in England.

My partner joins me in Thanking God this sunny morning.

Fr John and Robert

Posted by Fr John E. Harris-White at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 10:13am GMT

Christ died for all of this,..but no one seems to have noticed,..especially the so-called CONSERVATIVE FACTIONS!!!

Posted by David Green at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 12:24pm GMT

"clearly demonstrates that the Church of England is opposed to all forms of homophobia." That I seriously doubt. It is, at least in part, a sharp manouvere to deflect criticism ofter the row over the Equalities Bill. Doubtless most of Synod recognise that to do otherwise would have given the Church the definite appearance of being irredeemably homophobic, but to claim it as any more than a step in the right direction is to spin outrageously.

Posted by Fr Dougal at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 2:08pm GMT

I know I am getting old and jaded, so forgive me if I don't get too excited about this. Don't get me wrong. I am delighted that the Synod has decided to do this.

But frankly, it is only what they should have done from the start. Putting right a wrong is good, but it hardly deserves special congratulations. I don't believe it shows any real intention to repent of the institutional homophobia that bedevils the institution. It is only weeks since bishops were prepared to fight to the death to retain the right to discriminate as much as they saw fit in employment practice. Rowan was profoundy sorry for the carelessness that might have led to an impression of his not having taken on board the human realities that LGBT people live with; that is a pretty refracted apology, isn't it? And it does nothing to rescind what he said last year about LGBT clergy "their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires." Apologies for careless impressions won't cut the mustard in the face of that.

The conservative hate this move because it puts CPs on a par with marriages; it will make them increase their attempt to drive LGBT people to the margins of the church. And meanwhile the silent exodus of decent people will continue, repulsed by a Church that claims to share good news while, in its institutional form, demonstrating antiquated attitudes and bigoted policies.

I don't think there will be much to get excited about until Rowan heeds his own warm words, that "no Anglican has any business reinforcing prejudice against LGBT people, questioning their human dignity and civil liberties or their place within the Body of Christ", and starts by getting the House of Bishops to think how they might say and do some things that make it crystal clear that this is their polity.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 2:09pm GMT

This is going to sound like a flame, but it's really not. I'm just ignorant.
How does Lambeth Resolution 1:10 relate to the Church of England? (I understand that it was a Lambeth Conference - therefore Anglican Communion resolution not a CofE one)'

Sir, You may be delighted to know that this Resolution is backed by the full authority of any Lambeth Conference. Yes, yes, I know, it is That authoritative !

The skull-dugery and bad faith of Geo Carey and henchpersons and their behind the scenes manipulation, of the responsible sub-committee and its rather saintly and other-wordly chair, does not diminish the general authority of this resolution one iota. However, its moral authority must be compromised.

I find the Yiddish saying "Have no dealings with a knave" very applicable to this Resolution and the archbishop who manipulated the process.

It was an unethical, unnecessary innovation -- the C of E and other anglican Churches had had gay members and clergy long before L 9.10 was foisted upon us -- visit any anglo-catholic landmark and see for yourself.


Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 3:59pm GMT

'I don't think there will be much to get excited about until Rowan heeds his own warm words, that "no Anglican has any business reinforcing prejudice against LGBT people, questioning their human dignity and civil liberties or their place within the Body of Christ", and starts by getting the House of Bishops to think how they might say and do some things that make it crystal clear that this is their polity.'

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 2:09pm GMT


I applaud the spirit and content of Jeremy Pemberton's post in general, and the words cited in particular, I must say.

But I am glad that my partner will receive my pension should I die first. Though a small sum the symbolism (in my mind) is worth a lot. I have had such support from him over 30+ years of ordained ministry, that I am glad of it. (Yet the C of E has missed out on so much that he and we might have given together if it had been possible.I write this very conscious of my own short-comings, yet knowing I tried hard (and do yet) with little active back up-- at least not since the days of Southwark Pastoral Care and Counselling's support and supervision groups, under Derek Blows, John Fosket, Jeannette Renouf etc etc--all good people, and all sponsored and supported by that visionary gay diocesan , charismatic, evangelical and Catholic, Bishop Mervyn Stockwood

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:10pm GMT

al thought.... the name calling (and I'm sure there is some from both sides) is really unhelpful, as is the triumphalism.

Posted by: PeterB on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:35am GMT

Well now, 'a Christian Dad', this news does make me feely happy but not triumphalist. I've not read anything remotely 'triumphalist' here about this pensions news, but quite a few expressions of delight and happiness.-- it's not really about the money- lesbian and gay people have always had to get with things and have usually had to be financially and emotionally self-supporting (with a huge input of Grace, of course, but let's take that as read).

So you neednt worry too much, that some us are feeling H A P P Y and happy to say so, this once !

You'll always have the total backing of Church and State for your lifestyle, and the grateful support of children and grandchildren down the years to come--- joys too incalculable to be placed in any fulcrum, immesurable on any scale of well-being and joy--- so don't deny us a moment or two of unselfconscious delight ourselves --

... the C of E doesnt provide such moments for us very often you know ! No need to cast envious eyes over the minority ....


Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:18pm GMT

Is jeremy Pemberton the evangelical who was curate at St George's leeds in the 1980s? If so what has happened?

If reform churches with their quota capping are logical and consistent their clergy will withdraw from the pension scheme.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:42pm GMT

I never for one moment thought that this motion would be passed. Having served as a Proctor in Convocation on three sessions of General Synod I know how these sorts of motions are quietly disposed of. There is a God after all and my heart rejoices at a time when life in the dear old Church of England is pretty grim and unaffirming for gay people.

Posted by Robert Ellis at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:45pm GMT

L Roberts, I agree re: triumphalism. My words were poorly chosen.

re: the backing of the state for my lifestyle it hardly feels like it, but that's a thought deserving of a blog-post rather than a comment.

Posted by PeterB at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:51pm GMT

Interesting that such a large minority of the laity voted against. Makes you wonder who they represent. Who were the Bishops who voted against or abstained?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:53pm GMT

Regarding Lambeth Resolutions & Encyclicals

The discernible pattern, though not completely infallible rule for Lambeth Resolutions tends to be that the Lambeth Fathers meet, deliberate and solemnly

harrump on say Biblical Criticism and the new learning, Contraception, or the Ordination of Women
and having issued a Condemnation or three, they go on, blithely to authorize what they had previously Anathematized !

Yes, I know they tend to play catch-up, following what the Church on the ground is believing and doing.

The problem with the modern Lambeth Conference is that they have got Far Too Big For Their Boots *

having lost their sense of proportion propriety and humility. Aided and abetted originally by one Geo Carey who mistook his mitre for a guarantee (or a flamingo)- they need a Donald Coggan to call them "gormeless" or a Michael Ramsey to re-call them to a sense of the ridiculous or the divine. Or Desmond Tutu to re-call the African bishops to their Africaness -- they don't Have to ape the worst excesses of white colonial prince bishops (they enjoy it)

* / Sanctuary Slippers

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 5:29pm GMT

PeterB, Lambeth 1998 1-10 has exactly the same authority as any other resolution of a Lambeth Conference - none.

Lambeth Conference resolutions reflect the view (historically the consensus view, more recently the majority view) of the bishops in attendance. As such, the member Churches of the Communion should carefully read and consider them.

Despite the recent revisionism of the pretendy conservatives, no member Church of the Communion is bound by this or any other Lambeth resolution.

That said, 1998 1-10 really doesn't go beyond saying that the Conference could not then advise the Churches of the Communion to bless same sex unions or to ordain partnered gays and lesbians. Despite the revisionism, the resolution does not say the question is closed or that a future Lambeth might feel free to advise otherwise.

In addition, 1998 1-10 specifically calls on the Provinces to engage in a deliberate process to listen to the experience of homosexual persons. Those same hypocrites who pretend a) that 1-10's rejection of LGBTQs is absolute and b) that 1-10 is binding on all feel quite free to ignore that particular part of the resolution.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 6:56pm GMT

"In addition, 1998 1-10 specifically calls on the Provinces to engage in a deliberate process to listen to the experience of homosexual persons. Those same hypocrites who pretend a) that 1-10's rejection of LGBTQs is absolute and b) that 1-10 is binding on all feel quite free to ignore that particular part of the resolution." - Malcom+ -

From what we have learned about the activity and venom against LGBTs in certain Provinces of the Church (including the faux-province of ACNA), we have no evidence of this part of Lambeth 1:10 ever having been fulfilled by these sola scriptura entities.

One wonders if Archbishop Orombi, for instance, has ever spoken to, never mind listened to, one gay person within his homphobic Province? To listen implies a willingness to learn something, whereas many of these marauding prelates feel they have nothing to learn from Christians who happen to have been made in the Image and Likeness of the same God as they worship, but having a different sexual orientation from the majority.

I am mindful of the dominical words of comfort for all LGBTs and women who are shunned and vilified by members of the Church:
"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kind of evils against falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Perhaps the LGBT community of Uganda need to hear these words of comfort from Christ, as they are not hearing them from Ormbi or any member of his Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 10:22pm GMT

Fr. Ron - It is edifying (though not pleasant) to read through some of the responses to the listening process recorded on the Communion website. (http://anglicancommunion.org/listening/reports/index.cfm)

Some provinces spoke honestly about what they heard, why they had difficulty or even, in a couple of cases, why they felt unable to proceed with the listening process to this point.

But the Church of Nigeria (for example) was quite proud of the fact that they were giving Lambeth 1998 1-10 the metaphorical finger (http://anglicancommunion.org/listening/reports/nigeria.cfm). The statement is unequivocal that they had not and would not would not listen to any homosexual person.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 4:17am GMT

Giles Goddard remarks:
"I hope this will be the beginning of a new openness towards LGBT people in the church."

Candidates for ministry are required on Ministry Division registration papers to state whether they are single, married or divorced. If they are divorced a complex and intrusive faculty procedure is followed before they can be accepted for ministry.

They are not asked if they are Civilly Partnered, or if a Civil Partnership they were in has dissolved.

Can we now ask for equality and "a new openness" in this area now?

Posted by Vernon at Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 12:43pm GMT

I kinda guessed it didn't feel like you had the Backing of society, the Law and indeed the state--but, in fact, you DO. Can you now try to put yourself in the place of those of us whose lives and relationships have been subject to prosecution by the State and the full force of the Criminal Law for most of our lives ? (That really would take a blog or two !)

Have you read novels such as Maurice (EMF) or Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit etc ?

're: the backing of the state for my lifestyle it hardly feels like it, but that's a thought deserving of a blog-post rather than a comment.'

Posted by: PeterB on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:51pm GMT

Thanks for your word about triumphalism - not to worry.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 7:51pm GMT

I would welcome evidence in support of this assertion.

'Giles Goddard remarks:
"I hope this will be the beginning of a new openness towards LGBT people in the church."

Candidates for ministry are required on Ministry Division registration papers to state whether they are single, married or divorced. If they are divorced a complex and intrusive faculty procedure is followed before they can be accepted for ministry.

They are not asked if they are Civilly Partnered, or if a Civil Partnership they were in has dissolved.

Can we now ask for equality and "a new openness" in this area now?'

Posted by: Vernon on Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 12:43pm GMT

Do you also envy the lot of lesbian and gay people ?

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 7:58pm GMT

I think Vernon has pointed out an anomaly, one which I'm sure will be dealt with in due course.

Perhaps at the same time, a new rule can be instituted by which ordinands or clergy wishing to get married to an opposite-sex partner will be required to have an interview with the Bishop to reassure him that the marriage will not be sexually expressed.

Posted by Olivia at Sunday, 14 February 2010 at 8:45am GMT

“This vote underlines Archbishop’s Rowan Williams’ earlier comments and clearly demonstrates that the Church of England is opposed to all forms of homophobia."

I don't know what planet the lovely Giles now inhabits - but it seems to have a happy atmosphere - almost hallucinogenic

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 18 February 2010 at 5:33pm GMT

This unexpected result will encourage those who have given their lives to supporting those in ministry that the church values their commitment and sacrifice.

Posted by rozer at Friday, 15 April 2011 at 1:50pm BST
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