No surprise at all, whatsoever from the bishops .... but still people want to waste their time, banging their heads against a wall of Anglican Fudge? No thanks-there's life outside the COfE
Quoting: "“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” diminishes everyone’s integrity: where it was used in wider society it was eventually discarded and discredited. Why are you introducing this now?"
No doubt in order to ease the Anglican Communion past the next Lambeth Conference.
Once again the pastoral and sacramental interests of faithful parishioners in England are being cast aside in favor of preserving Canterbury's Communion role, and of the bigoted views of other provinces.
Is this not a betrayal of the Church of England by its leaders? To whom, after all, do the bishops' duties run?
After all the talk and listening the bishop's offer stale crumbs! nothing more and nothing less.I am not sure why I should feel disappointed, but I do!!!
I think the LGCM have called this exactly right. The Bishops had a once in a generation chance to set the tone for the ongoing debate, and after a massive failure of nerve they have done so. Doctrinal change is ruled out and same sex relationships are simply a pastoral problem to be managed.
This inability to positively welcome those Christians who live out same sex relationships within the church community puts them in conflict with the mood within the wider British community, as well as the mood in large parts (and probbaly amongst the majority of people) in the CofE. As the LGCM say, this failure of nerve is a missional crisis which will make it even harder to convince non-Christians that we have anything useful to say about love.
Who could read such a dollop of bureaucratese? This is not the language in which to discuss human relationships or Christian relationships.
"But LGCM can no longer wait for episcopal leadership. The Spirit is moving in God’s faithful people and we’re seeking to be obedient to that movement. It’s a very exciting time."
On the ground just what does this mean? The CofE has canon law. The document makes clear that marriage is defined therein. It makes clear that one cannot wink at this or somehow finesse matters otherwise. There is no indication of any bloc of Bishops prepared to dissent from this.
So this "exciting time" will entail what, on the ground? Same sex marriages being undertaken with rites self-generated? That is possible, as anything is possible. But what is anticipated by way of discipline for this?
I ask because of course those who would want to pursue this course would have also to decide that a new kind of church would be created, and one outside of the CofE strictly speaking, as this document articulates its identity. That might be what is desired.
In TEC there was a different dynamic. GC claimed an authority over diocesan canons and individual Bishops, with a three year period of transition. (See the dynamic in the Diocese of TN, e.g., as reported recently). In TEC no one is in serious doubt, I don't think, that in time the only possible resistance to ss marraige would have to be at an individual priest level, and that that will also evaporate as new clergy are raised up in a changed church.
LGCM did well to get something out quickly, but the response is disappointing. It strongly gives the impression that same sex marriage is the only issue affecting LGBTI people: it isn't. They could have taken the opportunity to suggest that if nothing was being done on same sex marriage, that didn't mean more could be done to welcome trans and intersex people and to welcome and bless a change of gender. They don't even pick up the bishops for making the same mistake.
I picked this up before. Do LGCM not care about trans and intersex people or are they ignorant of the issues?
Excellent response from the LGCM. If the merged organization's gonna follow this forthright approach, it's to be welcomed.
Kate, have you contacted the leadership of the new organization, and shared your concerns? I cannot see how you hope to further trans rights by this course, but hope that it remains a minority pursuit. The last thing we need ATM is infighting.
It wouldn't be so bad, if they were consistent on divorce and re-marriage. One smells more cultural prejudice than scriptural integrity.
The Blackburn motion, which calls on the Church of England to improve its welcome of trans people, and urges the Bishops to authorise appropriate prayers for transition, was due to be debated at the February Synod, but has been postponed until who knows when, so that the Bishops' Report can be discussed. I think the LGCM document is appropriately focused on the Report. Both LGCM and Changing Attitude, England, with which it is merging, have had an excellent record in terms of of trans people, e.g trans Board members, and intersex people - CAE, and by extension the LGBTI Anglican Mission, are affiliated to the UK Intersex Association. It was only after that affiliation that these organisations considered it appropriate to add the I to LGBT on their banners etc.. Nevertheless I was shocked by the erasure of bisexual, trans and intersex people in the Bishops' Report - yet another retrograde step.
Once again the CofE has exposed the moral, spiritual and social paralysis that inhibits leadership and erodes its capacity to envisage, follow and share an authentic vision of the love of God and people at work in the world. This paralysis has replaced the energy and fervour that marked our birth in the Reformation. Instead we now have a dysfunctional, lacklustre and pompously self-justifying institution hat denies our past, stultifies our future and quenches the flame of love, hope and compassion that marked our founder as none less than the Son of God. Christ condemned the Scripes and Pharisees for just these failings. He called for love-based revolution. Our system and its leadership needs nothing less.
"Kate, have you contacted the leadership of the new organization, and shared your concerns? I cannot see how you hope to further trans rights by this course, but hope that it remains a minority pursuit. The last thing we need ATM is infighting."
So the bishops are criticised because they do not understand or promote the needs of lesbian and gay people, and you talk of direct action to oppose that, but when the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement fails to understand and promote the needs of trans people we should unite behind them and avoid infighting.
Thank God they have not said anything about btq+ issues. I was involved in the shared conversations and the bishops' response to all that time and money is inadequate and sad. It would see that there is greater interest in appeasement of fundamentalists than the teaching that through baptism we are all equal in Christ.
GAFCON UK nails it: "The Bishops have taken seriously the views of the global Anglican Communion"
But not the views of the Church of England....
Kate, which needs, specifically, do you believe are being ignored? The response to the shared conversations wasn't directed at trans people (unless they're also LGB). The CoE hasn't, to my knowledge, taken a position.
If an organization failing to introduce trans rights in response to a distinct (if linked) issue is grounds to say they're failing trans people, it's a mighty low bar.
If, by contrast, the church discriminated against trans people, there should absolutely be collective action, and I have no doubt that the LGBT community, including the new organization, would lend its support.
Have you tried getting your baptism records corrected recently? Or your marriage record? Or maybe a service or blessing to recognise your change of gender? No? It's all the things needed by lesbian and gay people... And then some.
And now was THE time to ask. When the bishops are claiming they want to be welcoming and helpful but can't support same sex marriage, now is the time to call their bluff and ask for the things that the LGBT+ community needs other than same sex marriage.
As a Thinking Anglican from Down Under I am afraid that these reports and so many others have played into the hands of those Evangelicals who call themselves Anglican but who really stand at odds with so much of the evolving tradition of the Anglican Church globally.
They have delayed and obfuscated. They have refused to concede any ground and they are simply holding the Church back. There comes a time when separate pathways are the only possible way forward. Yes, such schism may be a tragedy for the church, but I dare to suggest that this is the only way those of us who would fully welcome our LGBT brothers and sisters into the church will ever be free to live out the Kingdom of God as we see it.
Thank you Kate for the specific example. No, I've not pursued any English churches over baptismal records. Have you contacted the leadership of the new organization to raise your concerns?
As for this being the right time to raise it, we will simply have to disagree on that. Introducing a new issue would've both distracted from the subject of the bishops' report, and by association, ended up making the bishops intransigent. It could've undermined the very thing you care about.
I repeat, the Blackburn Diocesan motion on improving the welcome for trans people and providing authorised rites/prayers will have to be discussed by General Synod at some point - sadly it has been displaced at this session by the Bishops report. LGCM has had a good track record on trans inclusion. The previous CEO, who identified as gender queer, supported several trans people, and there has been at least one trans person on the Board. There have also been presentations by trans people at several LGCM AGMs. The present CEO is equally committed to trans inclusion and there are always trans people present at meetings she convenes. Changing Attitude, England with which LGCM is merging has a proud record on trans inclusion, having had three trans trustees at one point and there is a determination that this focus should continue in the newly merged organisation. The LGCM statement was a response to the HoB's document whose subject was equal marriage. Unlike the Bishops the LGCM statement referred to LGBTI people, as does the Mission statement of the LGBTI Anglican Mission which was thoroughly scrutinised by trans people to ensure that trans perspectives were fully represented. The Church of England HoB has taken a position on trans people and said that it is acceptable to say that transition is genuine or fantasy, just as in the CofE you can believe that women can be ordained or can't be ordained. In the CofE it seems that we can believe contradictory things about gender but not yet about sexuality which is why this is the hot topic at the moment.
Having noted the excellent record of CAE, LGCM & the Mission on trans inclusion, it is essential that BTI people are members of the boards of these and other organisations that claim to be representing LGBTI people, and many of us - including the Sibyls Committee in the case of trans people - will be lobbying to ensure that is so in the case of these particular LGBTI Christian groups.
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