Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 25 June 2016

Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England aims to agree to disagree over homosexuality

Two of this year’s ordinands reflect on their vocations.
Lucy Savage ‘I remember having an overwhelming feeling that this was going to be me one day’
Chris Sayburn ‘Through it all, I know the call that God has placed upon my life’

Ian Paul asks Are clergy and laity fundamentally different?


  • Kate says:

    I am rather taken by the Ian Paul piece. Although in the end he rightly rejects that notion that a priest is ontologically different to other servants of God, he makes a false assumption along the way that any ontological difference would arise as a result of the rite of ordination. I find it hard to accept that. It seems to me that God makes priests and the Church, in it’s rites, merely recognises that and announces it to the Church. I guess, according to Paul’s categorisation earlier in the piece, I am a two rite person, not a seven.

    Still, a quality piece and my one, quite personal quibble, is really a point around the margin rather than anything central.

  • Pam says:

    Yes, a quality piece of writing from Ian Paul, well done. The hierarchy of the church involves servanthood and it is a pity clericalism plays such an important role to some. I have never felt unequal except sometimes in church.

  • Andrew Brown’s insightful article highlights what is at stake in the deliberations of the C. of E. General Synod of the matter of it treatment of LGBT members of the Church.

    In the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (in my opinion, an ex-Brit., not a good move), which has isolated Britain from its surrounding partner countries, there will be consequences for both the C. of E. and other members of the Anglican Communion whichever way the Synod chooses to act.

    If it decides to act in accordance with the ABC’s eirenic stance towards the LGBT community and accepts the challenge to Bless Same-Sex partnerships – either by ‘Blessing’ or Marriage – it risks the departure of the GAFCON crowd, together with those of its own constituency who favour Gafcon’s opposition to inclusion.

    However, if it ignores the movement of SEC, TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada towards the accommodation of Same-Sex Unions, it will show itself to be clearly aligned with the polity of sexism and homophobia – which Archbishop Welby has publicly declared to be un-Christian.

  • Cynthia says:

    I want to affirm that there might be something to ontological change upon the sacrament of ordination.

    We experienced ontological change upon our sacramental marriage in our parish church last year. It was unexpected as we’d been together for 23 years at that point. It’s beautiful and amazing.

    The question then comes up as to who is eligible for these sacraments. Of course discernment and education are part, but to me it’s clear that it should not be withheld on the grounds of being female or LGBTQI… That women are called to the priesthood (including the episcopate) and LGBTQI people are called to the full range of sacraments speaks to ever expanding history of salvation. It includes the Ethiopian Eunuch, the uncircumcised, and on and on. The call, and the ontological change, support the inclusive view… But that is a matter of faith.

  • Kate says:

    Cynthia, equally as I understand it from talking to people, there can also be a profound, spiritual ontological change on a change of gender which is a disruptive thought in many ways. Firstly it suggests that ontological change can happen without the agency of the Church. Secondly, it has ramifications for how we understand gender within the Church.

    If there is also ontological change on effecting a same sex marriage that suggests same sex marriages are directly equivalent to mixed sex marriages in the eyes of God.

    I suspect LGBT+ ontological change would be a fruitful area of research.

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