Thinking Anglicans

Responses to the House of Bishops statement

Updated again Sunday evening

Andrew Foreshew-Cain has written a detailed response to the document published on Wednesday. You can read it here.

Jeremy Pemberton has written this: Making a Case for Pastoral Guidance.

Trevor Thurston-Smith has written this: The Bible, Bishops and Bedrooms.

LGBTQ UK Faith Blog published The Bishops’ unpastoral statement.

Helen King How not to be pastoral: the bishops’ new statement on civil partnerships.

Simon Butler As a vicar I know it’s time the Church stopped telling people to be abstinent.

From Bishops:

Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester A message from Bishop Rachel to the Diocese of Gloucester regarding the release of the House of Bishops statement re civil partnerships.

Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading, has tweeted this

As @cofe ‘s newest bishop (though not in HoB) I was deeply saddened by the unpastoral tone of the HoB statement on civil partnerships. Cold. Legalistic. Loveless. Astonishing timing – mid LLF discussions. Please know that Bishops are not of a mind on this #sorry ☹️

Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich has tweeted this:

1/2 With @BishGloucester I’m frustrated by the process which led to the publication of a House of Bishops statement on civil partnerships, not least because it was deemed business and not discussed and debated by the House. But more, I’m deeply saddened by the hurt is has caused.
2/2 I pledge to do all I can to ensure that the Living in Love and Faith project has a tone and warmth and care that seeks a way forward that, whilst acknowledging different opinions, puts precious life and love at the heart of the conversation and our welcome.

There are also tweets in support from the bishops of Newcastle, Bristol, Sheffield, Worcester, Repton, Crediton.

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Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

“There is no exploration of the wider theological understanding of marriage within the Christian community.” For most people, marriage – and indeed civil partnerships – are about givenness. Givenness to each other. Givenness, as a couple, to the community. And for those with religious faith: Givenness to God. When we look at how God works, the concept of covenant is huge, and at the heart of covenant love, grace, faith lies: Givenness. The most ordinary and secular people, as well as many with profound spirituality, ‘get’ this. I share Andrew’s hope that the will of the people in the Church… Read more »

Anne Eyre
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Anne Eyre

In the 1960’s parliament asked the church to produce a report that would set a standard of dignity and integrity for the laws of divorce; still not really “approved of” then. The church was seen to contain theologically thorough people , with intellectual integrity who could engage with/ consult with / and listen to other skills ; namely lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, teachers. They all sat TOGETHER . All aspects of this deeply human issue were represented , and then the theological interpretation was conducted in the midst of those other skills. The result was a report , put into practice… Read more »

Iain McLean
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Iain McLean

Important to note that, as Ann Reddicliffe discovered on the thread below (great detective work!), parts of the document are recycled from a 2005 paper on CPs, and therefore reflect a position from which the rest of the world and numerous faith communities have moved on. Para 14 of the new document looked very odd indeed until that discovery.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

All of the responses here are quite strong. The central argument really is the bishop’s handling of clergy sexual abuse. I can’t stomach viewing the documentaries; I read a fair bit of testimony from Matt Ineson and others and that was devastating enough. Methinks that logs the size of the Giant Redwoods and Sequoias reside in the eyes of CoE’s bishops. I’m sure that all of the points in the articles are great, but the main point is that the House of Bishops is a deeply wounded institution (self-inflicted, but wounded nonetheless) and instead of engaging in self-healing, they attack… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Continuing from the previous thread … My first reading of the Bishops’ document was that it was aimed at CLERGY, those who dared to enter into any mind of civil partnership, rather than marriage. I still think so: the stuff about blessing CPs is almost an add-on. That’s why my early TA comment concerned clergy bedrooms and what might go on in them. But look, peeps, our comments on TA are preaching to the choir. Nobody cares what bishops think, not even your average church “member”, and nobody except us reads comments on TA. How do we get “them out… Read more »

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Yes, it does seem aimed at clergy. However, when LGBTQ+ laypeople see LGBTQ+ clergy treated so horribly, it attacks our well being too. It certainly tells us that we are somehow lesser, disordered, whatever, in the eyes of the church, which can rattle our faith. Our church is full of powerful symbols.

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

Also, Cynthia, LGBTQI+ clergy may well be in loving relationships with LGBTQI+ laity. Treating the clergy as a discrete group seems to miss that point.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Presumably the bishops who signed off this statement are in the same Church of England that made provision in 2009 for a service of Marriage and Holy Baptism after recognising the large number of couples getting married who already had children? (https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2009/24-july/news/uk/for-weddings-and-a-baptism-a-single-service). Presumably bishops know how children are made? The whole thing stinks: homophobia wrapped in hypocrisy stuffed inside moral bankruptcy. How much more clearly can the Church of England hierarchy say ‘we don’t care what heterosexuals do, as long as it’s heterosexual?’ The only tiniest glimmer of hope here is that the sort of shrill, preposterous nonsense that is… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

I followed Helen King’s piece through some of the links and reread Jessica Martin’s excellent reflection which was published as an introduction to the Report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality (the Pilling Report) – https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2018-01/GS%201929%20Working%20Group%20on%20human%20sexuality_0.pdf If I were to take that piece down to the 6th form at my local secondary school I would expect an interesting conversation. I’ll be sharing it with people in the parish. I will not be doing the same with the current House of Bishops statement. The idea that the Church owns marriage is false – “marriage is a gift… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Kudos to Graham Usher and Olivia Graham for speaking out. Graham is a very experienced and frankly senior bishop, and his criticism is pretty striking. Also because it reveals that the Statement was not discussed and debated by the house of Bishops and seems to have been pushed through by individuals in an isolated context that was not explained in advance. He also acknowledges the hurt the Statement causes. It is also good that Olivia points out that there is not episcopal consensus about this Statement (is that concern about theological content or way it was delivered?). And as TA… Read more »

John Wallace
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John Wallace

I for one cannot really see the difference between a civil wedding, that we gladly bless and a civil partnership, which we cannot!! De facto even if not de jure, they are the same to most people. It is typical of the C of E and its so-called ‘management’ to get this so completely wrong. as the saying goes: ‘if you’re in a hole, stop digging.’ Really pleased that some diocesans (+ Graham and + Rachel) are as appalled as I am. Would that there were more! If the statement needed to be released, all it needed was for each… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

If they recognise transgender persons marrying..surely they have in the eyes of most conservative theological persons approved same sex marriage.

Ann Reddecliffe
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Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

Thanks Ann. I have very high respect for Michael Ipgrave.

NJW
Guest
NJW

The bishops of the Diocese of Lincoln have issued an ad clerum makes clear the lack of consultation, and expresses concern over the ‘significant pastoral and missiological implications which clearly undermine the work of the Church today’.
https://www.lincoln.anglican.org/news/ad-clerum-28th-january-2020

God 'elp us all
Guest
God 'elp us all

So who are the bishops that speak for the bishops?- I think we should be told. Who are the House of Bishops? So many bishops seem to be saying ‘not in my name’; and there will be others who are keeping their heads down, whether or not hanging their heads in shame. This together with Bishop Ball and Archbishop Carey and continuing concerns about the church’s failures in safeguarding must surely be bringing the church into disrepute and hastening the end of Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, loss of church schools, disestablishment, and maybe the demise of all… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Will this list be updated? The response from the Bishops of Bath and Wells is missing ,as is the Lincoln ad clerum. There may be others I’m not aware of. Thank you.