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Take Note Debate Voted Down
Inclusive Church in partnership with the General Synod Human Sexuality Group shares this press release in response to the General Synod vote in February 2017.
“We are pleased and relieved that General Synod have heard our concerns, and voted NOT to Take Note. This means that we can now look at new ways of working together to produce a fresh approach to how we embrace and celebrate the lives and loves of LGBTI people. We hope that the Church of England will now be more honest about the diversity of views that are sincerely held on this issue, so that we can look at how we might best present an inclusive vision of the Body of Christ to the nation.
We are particularly grateful that both the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Bishops’ Reflections Group (the Rt Revd Graham James and the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent) have acknowledged and apologised for the pain that this report had caused so many of us.”
Jayne Ozanne and Giles Goddard, Chair of Human Sexuality Group
Alan Wilson Back to the Holy Drawing Board, with some relief
For a body as conventionally set up as the Church of England General Synod, all its structures loaded to express deference, yesterday’s result was something of a shock to the system.
Many episcopal colleagues could feel disappointed that the clergy did not buy a report that had already been announced to the rest of the Communion from the top as Church policy, before it had even been to synod.
This kind of bloody nose may stir memories of the Anglican Covenant project — another disastrous and ecclesiologically inept attempt to make doctrine through lawyers that backfired.
But every failure brings opportunity…
We now have a chance to following up the Shared Conversations, which were generally good and constructive, properly…
Today’s events in the Church of England are unprecedented, with the refusal of the General Synod to take note of the Report of the House of Bishops’ reflection group, GS2055. Both the defeat of the motion by the House of Clergy and the rebellion against it in the House of Laity send an unequivocal message to the house of Bishops that their approach to human sexuality is lamentably out of step with membership of the Church of England and with the nation…
Modern Church welcomes the result of the vote in General Synod this week not to ‘take note’ of the House of Bishops report on Marriage and Same Sex Partnerships after the Shared Conversations.
By rejecting the motion to take note of this report, the General Synod has sent the Bishops back to the drawing board.
Most telling among the many reflections leading up to and during this landmark debate were these:
- the House of Bishops was attempting to manage the situation rather than leading.
- the ‘roadmap’ their report offered was not a route toward ‘good disagreement’ for those putting the case for inclusion.
- the bishops had not adequaltey heard the lived experience of LGBT+ people in the church, their families, friends and supporters, and had not catered for their aspirations for equality.
- the report did not take account of different theological and biblical perspectives.
We are but a few years on from the defeat of the Anglican Covenant by the English Dioceses and the General Synod. This second major defeat can mean only one thing – it is time for the House of Bishops to bring forward legislation which will enable all LGBT+ Christians, whether single, in a civil partnership or married, to be treated with equality in the life of the church.
What might this look like?
Modern Church also welcomes the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement calling for:
a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church… founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology… based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and… a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.
We look forward to continuing to work to support the excellent and active work of LGBTI Mission, Inclusive Church and One Body One Faith, as they work with the whole church and with the Bishops to discern the way ahead.
Listening to the Synod debate, some of the parameters of a new settlement seem to be clear:
- An authorised liturgy for the blessing of same sex relationships (civil partnerships and civil marriages).
- The end of intrusive questioning for those in or aspiring to ministry who are in a civil partnership or are married to someone of the same gender.
- A ‘mixed economy’ whereby no minister is expected or compelled to act beyond the limits of their own or their congregation’s conscience.
Anything short of this will not do. The road may be yet long but the destination is now in sight and it is time for the Bishops to offer a map to get us there.
Ian Paul Psephizo On Synod, sexuality, and not ‘Taking note’