Comments: Opinion - 10 September 2016

Many thanks to Claire for writing this piece about her time in the S. Anselm community. Her words, "The single thing that will make the most impact for people who have only ever thought about sexuality in terms of arguments and verses, is knowing you", remind me of some things that happened in my diocese's Shared Conversations - only of course that was a mere 3 days, not a year. Maybe we can also link this to women priests and the way some parishes changed their views once they came to know one?

Posted by Helen King at Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 5:41pm BST

Unfortunately, the font of Colin Coward's piece is too small for me to read.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 5:43pm BST

Archdruid's words of wisdom should be engraved on the heart of every committee chair and secretary. Badly conducted meetings are the bane of church life. They are one of the reasons why the synodical system is so corrupted; their irrelevance and interminability means only those who like sitting on committees get elected and because they can't acstually run committees effectually no one else will stand.

In my view it's important as a chair of a committee to have a clear view of what you want to get out of it. That doesn't mean fixing the result, it means so ordering the discussion that there is a result. Even if the discussion gets nowhere the positive decision to postpone discussion to a further date is a positive action.

The other piece of advice I would give is that to those who say 'would'nt it be a good idea if....' Is to ask who is willing to make this happen. And if no one volunteers then the issue is dropped.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 7:08pm BST

if you're reading on your PC or laptop, you can press Ctrl + to make the font larger. Ctrl - makes it smaller again.

[And Ctrl 0 resets the size to the default. On a Mac replace Ctrl by Cmd - ed.]

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 7:56pm BST

In the first half of David Walker's piece he talks of conditional welcome. It's good. Very good. Then he morphs into saying that in practice the church often offers only constrained or conditional welcome but he never really justifies that theologically. He never talks about challenging constrained welcome. A sad end to an article which started with such promise.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 7:56pm BST

Increasingly I wish Archdruid Eileen was a bishop...

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 10 September 2016 at 9:13pm BST

At some point in every meeting that I chair, I say "remember that if you suggest something, you will be in charge of doing it."

Posted by Fr William at Sunday, 11 September 2016 at 9:51am BST

Such a sensitive post from Claire. I'd wondered what it must have been like to be part of the Community of St Anselm if one were LGBTI+. I'm sure that her advice will be very helpful. It also demonstrates the kind of tone we desperately need in the Church of England as a whole.

Posted by Christina Beardsley at Sunday, 11 September 2016 at 5:52pm BST

Thanks so much for the link to the Andrew Brown article on Bishop Jenkins. I some how missed this in surfing UK news sites.

I had several things to be thankful for in reading it. The first was the opportunity to reflect on a life lived, like that of Jenkins', a thinker and iconoclast, increasingly an endangered species in the institutional church.

Secondly, the caption about not believing in the bible gave rise to the question, what on earth does "believing the bible" mean do you suppose? Lord, like Jenkins I disbelieve, help my lapses into "belief".

Thirdly, I thought of one of my pastoralia instructors, a R.N. veteran of D-day landing craft, same generation as Jenkins, and a Jungian therapist, who was ordained deacon at Durham Cathedral.

We owe so much to latter day reformers. We forget what courage used to mean in the days before the anonymous internet poster.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 11 September 2016 at 11:31pm BST

Claire's article is gently moving and reminds us how much we can learn from the experience of religious communities.

"You can’t unchoose a member of that community when you discover they take a very different position to you. And they cannot unchoose you."

The same applies to our eternal relationship with one another as members of the household of God. Like it or not, we are in communion for all eternity because we are in union with Jesus Christ.

This is a lesson that our whole Church, and its squabbling partisans, can learn from religious communities. We grow, in part, *because* we are different, and not because we are ideologically pure... because in our differences we learn how much we need to draw on grace and try to pray for one another's flourishing - even the people we don't (honestly) find it easy to like.

What we need so badly is grace. And Claire's article and account speak a lot about that grace. The grace to disagree well. The grace to dig deep and care for the person, and not just the stigmatisation of their views as we schism oh so sadly into rival camps.

The lessons of generous sharing and forbearance I received from sisters in several convents over the years, highlight for me how hard it is to 'live community' when it is people you are 'stuck with' with all their flaws and annoying quirks, and yet... and yet... how that crystallises humility and service of the other person, and how the raw edge of difference and otherness can help one grow in relationship, as we open up and serve our relational triune God, and how God treasures the person across the table (or doctrinal divide) from me.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 12 September 2016 at 1:13am BST

What a lovely, encouraging post from Claire Jones - former member of the Community of St.Stephen at Lambeth Palace. Claire's openness to others will become the new paradigm, one hopes, for openness about one's sexual orientation within the family of the Church without fear of rejection.

Claire's example is a good and wholesome example of what we ought to expect from a 'Good News' generation in the church of England and other Churches of our worldwide Anglican Communion.

May others in the Church - including clergy and bishops - have faith enough to believe that a new openness of LGBTI Christians will shatter the closet mentality that has too long held us all captive. Christ came to set us free from our bondage. alleluia!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 12 September 2016 at 2:09am BST

A very good obit for David Jenkins on the 'Last Word' programme on radio 4 last Sunday evening.

Well worth listening to it on i-player or on-line. Good hear extracts from his talks and interviews too.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 15 September 2016 at 6:10pm BST
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