Thinking Anglicans

CofE's Osborne report finally published

The Church Times has today published an electronic copy of the Osborne Report on homosexuality. This should have been published in 1989.

In an accompanying article, the Very Revd Dr Jane Shaw explains the background to its suppression at the time.

When the CofE wanted to talk
A new (all-male) group is rethinking Issues in Human Sexuality, the 1991 report that remains the Bishops’ line on homo­sexuality…

The increasing acceptance of gay men and lesbians in the wider society in the 1970s and ’80s meant that the Church of England had to address the subject. In 1979, a church report, Homosexual Relationships: A con­tribu­tion to discussion, was published, but was considered too liberal by many in the Church.

So, in 1986, a standing committee of the House of Bishops asked the Board for Social Responsibility to set up a working party to advise the bishops. This resulted in the Osborne report of 1989 (chaired by the Revd June Osborne, a member of the Board), which drew on the direct testimony of gay and lesbian Chris­tians…

The full text of the report is available as an 8Mb PDF file.

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Father Ron SmithRichard AshbybadmanWilfsally barnes Recent comment authors
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sally barnes
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sally barnes

Oh now I understand. Had women on the last group- didn’t like the outcome so no women on this one!!! Makes sense.

Wilf
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Wilf

Oh dear. This might have scuppered Dean Osborne’s chances of becoming Dean of St Paul’s.

badman
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badman

Jane Shaw was for 9 years Chaplain and Dean of Divinity at New College, Oxford, and she was one of those who helped shape Some Issues in Human Sexuality (which was more liberal than Issues in Human Sexuality). Her appointment as a Dean in the US is a grievous loss to the Church of England and I hope that we will soon be in a position to offer her a bishopric in England, when we at last have women bishops, and that she will accept and come back to us. June Osborne did not and will not lose anything as… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

The letter in the current Church Times from General Synod member Lorna Ashworth (effectively saying No, no, no) show exactly why the ‘listening process’, if it ever had a chance of working in the 1980s, hasn’t any chance now. Tony Higton derailed the Osborne report before it was published and the conservative rejectionists have kept on derailing any progress in this area. Listening isn’t going to work, the Bishops’ attempts to find a compromise are doomed to failure and the current working parties lack any legitimacy by the very nature of their composition. The only way forward is to tackle… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

The other question is why has this report been published by the Church Times now? What is going on?

Father Ron Smith
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No wonder this report was repressed by the hierarchy of the Church of England. It actually provides sensible and theological arguments for the authenticity of Gays in the Church. Perhaps now that the report has been released, we might get some action that will indicate the Church’s willingness to consider the place of the LGBT community in its life and ministry.

Father Ron Smith
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Those interested in this report will probably be even more interested in the article by Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, renowned Oxford University Church Historian, on the problems associated with mandatory celibacy of the clergy (listed on another T.A. thread). His history of personal dealings with the Church of England’s treatment of Gay Clergy – in the wake of Tony Higton’s infamous attack on Gay Clergy in a G.S. Motion in 1987 – no doubt informs his opinion of the hypocritical stance of the Church, which requires Gay people to make a promise of celibacy, whilke allowing straight clergy the benefit of… Read more »