The four bishops of the Diocese of Lichfield have issued an ad clerum letter on this subject.
Here is the press release: Welcoming and honouring LGBT+ people
The bishops of Lichfield Diocese are calling for a Church where LGBT+ people feel welcomed and honoured.
In a letter sent to all clergy and lay ministers in the diocese, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave; the Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas; the Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory; and the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, emphasise that “everyone has a place at the table.”
The letter updates clergy on discussions underway in the national Church on the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ called for by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and draws attention to the work being done on a major new Teaching Document…
Here is the full text of the letter: To all clergy and licensed lay ministers in the Diocese of Lichfield. Part of this is copied below the fold. But do read the entire letter.
There was also an earlier press release: ‘Safe Space’ for LGBT Christians
OneBodyOneFaith has issued a statement: OneBody welcomes letter from Lichfield bishops.
Tracey Byrne said:
“…Much of what the bishops say, shouldn’t really need saying, but sadly it does. Only this week we heard from a gay couple in another part of the country whose vicar has told them they can’t serve on any church committee, and we know too of couples whose vicar has refused to baptise their children. The kind of intrusive and abusive questioning of individuals condemned in the letter really does happen. People feel ashamed, hurt and confused when they encounter this kind of behaviour from people in positions of power and authority. It’s an affront to the gospel, and deeply damaging of individuals.”
Peter Leonard said:
“It’s my hope that the work being undertaken by Lichfield diocese, and this clear statement, will send a very strong signal – to LGBT+ people that they’re welcomed and valued on equal terms with our brothers and sisters. And to those who seek to treat us as a problem, to harm and dismiss us and deny our gifts and callings – that their behaviour will no longer be tolerated. What we need to see now is other bishops issuing similar guidance. But this first step by Lichfield is very much welcomed.”
Extract from the ad clerum:
In this letter we address some of the pastoral dimensions of these issues. We do not here discuss contested theological or ethical questions.In particular, in this letter we do not address the issue of blessing same-sex relationships, or of same-sex marriage. Rather, we are writing here about issues faced by all of us as we seek to live alongside others in the Church which is the Body of Christ.
Our basic principle is that all people are welcome in God’s Church: everyone has a place at the table. There is no theological problem with simply providing welcome, an extension of the welcome that God continually offers to each of us. This, we believe, is the starting point of that radical Christian inclusion for which the Archbishops have called.
Such radical Christian inclusion brings practical consequences for our local churches and for our Diocese as a whole, and we highlight some of these here: