Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Oxford supports same-sex marriage

Updated Saturday evening – Kindle version available, see below.

Diocese of Oxford press release: Clergy should have the freedom to bless and marry same-sex couples, says +Oxford

Church of England clergy should have the freedom to bless and marry same-sex couples, says Bishop of Oxford.

The Bishop of Oxford has published a 52-page essay, Together in Love and Faith, to be released on Friday 4 November, setting out the ways his own views have changed on same-sex relationships over the last decade.

In the light of ten years of reflection and massive changes in the society we serve, many in the Church, including Bishop Steven, now believe it is time to enable local churches and clergy to offer public services of blessing for same-sex relationships and remove the legal barriers to the solemnisation of same-sex marriage in the Church of England. Clergy should also be given the freedom to order their own relationships according to their conscience and to marry a same-sex partner…

Bishop Steven writes:

“I need to acknowledge the acute pain and distress of LGBTQ+ people in the life of the Church. I am sorry that, corporately, we have been so slow as a Church to reach better decisions and practice on these matters. I am sorry that my own views were slow to change and that my actions, and lack of action, have caused genuine hurt, disagreement and pain.”

Bishop Steven also reflects that many Christians in the Church of England hold and will continue to hold a traditional view of marriage and this should be honoured and respected by those who are seeking freedom to change. This is the majority view across the worldwide Anglican Communion at this time, although some Anglican Provinces have already made the decision to allow the blessing of same-sex relationships. Clergy and parishes will need the freedom not to opt in to any new arrangements. Some clergy and parishes may need the oversight of bishops in the Church of England who hold to the traditional view…

Read the full press release for more detail.

Church Times: Bishop of Oxford calls for an end to ban on same-sex marriage in Church of England

THE Church of England should lift its ban on the marriage of same-sex couples, the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, has said — even if this means setting up an alternative episcopal structure for conservative priests and parishes.

At stake, he says, is the Church of England’s claim to serve the whole of society. Its anti-LGBTQ+ stance “is leading to a radical dislocation between the Church of England and the culture and society we are attempting to serve”…

And  also this extract from the booklet: Extend goods of marriage to all

Update – electronic copies now available via Kindle

Follow this link for further details. You will need an Amazon account, but the document is free of charge.

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Graham Watts
1 year ago

If only there were more Bishops who have the honesty to say such things out loud. I expect that views not dissimilar are held but other Bishops but they are too scared to say it or defend their silience with comments about not prejudicing the outcome of any processes.
Are the Bishops of the Church of England the most impotent and scared of clergy?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Graham Watts
1 year ago

Nick Holtam, early in his time as Bishop of Salisbury put his head similarly above the parapet a few years ago and received much vituperation. Others stood by holding the coats.

Last edited 1 year ago by Struggling Anglican
RJLumpy
RJLumpy
1 year ago

Could this be the first indicative pebble that starts the landslide? It sounds sensible and realistic; as has been highlighted here before, there needs to be proper provision for those who “hold and will continue to hold a traditional view of marriage” but there is hope here for those of us who believe we should celebrate all loving couples, surely?

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  RJLumpy
1 year ago

Surely not a coincidence that this comes after yesterday’s announcements from the bishops’ meeting?

Ben
Ben
Reply to  Christopher
1 year ago

And testing the water before the next meeting?

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

So one bishop opting for ‘Unity in Diversity’ and the right of priests to choose between ‘traditional’ and marriage open to all.

I am quite surprised at the timing, as I thought there was an agreed impartiality while LLF was still proceeding.

Orchestrated?

Probably not. I wonder if other bishops will stay silent until the December meeting or after?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Susannah,

I will not go into the details but you are being subjected to truly reprehensible treatment on another site. Its just awful to read.

It must be really difficult for you to have to absorb such treatment and I wanted to assure you that you must cast away those words that are being directed at you with such malice

Peter

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I haven’t seen them Peter. But I will simply re-affirm that although you and I have different views, I find you kind, gracious, and full of integrity. As for some people: haters going to hate. Thanks, I’ll now go and take a look. I really wish you well.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I wish to also express my respect for Peter. He and I have wildly different views but in my opinion he expresses them strongly (which I would encourage) but without personal rancour.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Kate, That is very kind of you ! A brief involvement with a different site – which I will not name – has given me a real appreciation of the quality of debate on this site.

I should also say I think we should be grateful to the moderators who carry out a pretty thankless task in the service of of good disagreement (and the occasional point of agreement).

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

You really need to include the parts of Croft’s essay that will be tough for those seeking change.

Croft says “alternative system of oversight … such as an alternative province…”

Conservatives have grasped this.

People on this site have dismissed the idea of a new province as totally out of the question when I have referenced it which I have done repeatedly.

Please. There is going to be a settlement and it will involve a new province. Huge work will be needed and everybody needs to accept this reality.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

I have the whole essay. Page 46 and 47 set out a scoping framework for a settlement. It’s going to be extremely tough for everybody. Steven Croft is at the vanguard of the radicals. To take just one example he acknowledges that clergy and congregations cannot and will not be expected to vacate buildings for SSM. Much of the debate I have seen on this site has taken it to be self evident the only concession radicals should even consider is not insisting all clergy must conduct SSM It is going to be tough and radicals are going to have… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

No one is demanding conservatives be “brushed out of the house”, only that they cease doing so to our LGBT brothers and sisters. The demand to keep some parishes “gay free”, based on the views of the current priest and/or PCC is unworkable. Repeating the demand does not make it any more sensible or more desirable.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Nobody wants anywhere to be gay free.

Jo, you need to read Croft’s essay. There is going to be a separation. That is the shape of the settlement the Country’s leading radical bishop sets out

The time is past for saying it won’t happen over and over again

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Stephen Croft is England’s ‘leading radical bishop’? Last time I checked with Thinking Anglicans he was a raving evangelical!!!

See, it really is all about same sex marriage. A bishop can believe in the divinity and uniqueness of Christ, the authority of scripture, the necessity for conversion, the call to spread the gospel and make disciples, but if they allow even the least bit of acceptance for LGBTQ folks, they’re suddenly ‘the country’s leading radical bishop.’

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

The time for scoring points is past, Tim.

I regret, in the past, making an issue of the fact you are not resident in the UK and I have apologised for that to you. However, you do need to accept that those of us in the UK have a clearer sense of what is happening.

Croft’s statement is sending shock waves through the Church of England. He is the leading radical bishop and has completely changed the terms of debate.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I am far from scoring points. I simply think it’s absurd to call a man who is completely creedally orthodox ‘the leading radical bishop.’ This is nothing to do with whether I’m in England or the UK. It’s to do with the meaning of words.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

But Tim, “radical” just means seeking or bringing about change.

Calling for SSM is calling for change on a monumental scale.

Surely we can agree on that.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

‘Radical’ comes from the word ‘radix’ which means ‘root’. It’s about change to the roots of a belief, practice, or system. It’s not just any change; it’s change from the roots up. The definition of marriage is not part of the roots of Christian faith.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Fair enough, Tim

I rather agree with what I think is your commitment to philology.

Justin Welby is with me (not something I get to say very often) on this one.

He called for a “Radical new inclusion” five years ago.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Actually this is all eerily reminiscent of what happened in Canada in the early 2000s, with the significant difference that in Canada the bishop who was leading the call for a change on LGBTQ+ marriage (or ‘same sex blessings’) was a truly radical, theologically liberal bishop, in contrast to Bishop Steven who is theologically orthodox.

Andii Bowsher
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

I had a similar thought and reaction to seeing that characterisation. The significance is that it brings into fuller view that many Evangelicals dissent from the ‘official’ line purveyed in their/our name.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

No one is demanding conservatives be “brushed out of the house”

Funnily enough, they are. The view was expressed in these columns that the mere discussion of these issues in church was equivalent to conversion therapy and should be banned accordingly.

demand to keep some parishes “gay free”

That is not the position. The proposal is “the freedom not to opt in to any new arrangements”. To describe that as “gay-free” is misrepresentation.

Repeating these mis-statements does not make them any more true, more sensible or more desirable.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

I agree Jo. Whatever province(s) offer same sex marriage need to have full geographic coverage of England. If that means re-drawing parish boundaries or establishing new worship communities that should be done. If alongside there are separate worship communities which won’t support same sex marriage, I don’t see that as a problem. I am certain they will want to advertise their difference so nobody will get confused.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I am a conservative and my previous conversations with yourself (and Jo) have been as one might expect.

I am now in agreement with both of you that a provincial solution is possible.

There really is the scope for conservatives and those who want change to find a way out of this mess

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

“To take just one example he acknowledges that clergy and congregations cannot and will not be expected to vacate buildings for SSM.” In the real world, organisations do not split with both sides retaining their legal status. However you might like it to work morally, the legal and organisational reality is that splits involve one group leaving and the other staying. There is an organisation which gets the legal standing, and a new organisation which has to negotiate its needs. If the CofE splits over SSM, the state is highly likely to regard the SSM-permitting side as the continuing body,… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

The conversation has moved on. Nobody is interested in catastrophising of the kind you describe.

NJW
NJW
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

My own experience of rural ministry (in two dioceses), and working within two cities is that the rural churches have generally been affirming – if only because their ministry (lay and ordained) would have collapsed without the support of those with a whole variety of sexualities and approaches to gender. My knowledge of my present diocese would locate the non-SSM churches as generally being those in more affluent suburban settings.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  NJW
1 year ago

That is my experience also. The rural parishes and elderly congregations around me in Wiltshire have been entirely welcoming to my LLM ministry and my same sex married husband. It is the large urban evangelical churches which are more resistant.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Interested Observer
1 year ago

I think it’s more likely that the congregations willing to die on this particular hill are gathered, urban congregations of conservative Anglo-Catholics or Evangelicals. When it happens, as when women were first ordained, there will be a great deal of shroud-waving but most of the CofE will shrug and carry on as if nothing much has changed, and will barely blink when the banns are read out for Adam and Steve.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

Sorry. Fair point. The essay is publicly available from tomorrow

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

For those in the UK, the paper copy is a very reasonable £2.50 from the diocesan website.

Philip Groves
Philip Groves
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Provinces of the Anglican Communion are decided by the ACC and it is unlikely to the point of impossibility that the ACC would agree to an English new province. TEC fought of such an idea even when some in the C of E thought it might be a good idea. It was opposed by all of the other provinces of the global north. Importantly, behind the scenes, they were aided by many provinces in the socio-economic global south. Many provinces are fighting their own battles against so called ‘Anglican’ breakaway ‘provinces’. For example, the Anglican Church of Tanzania does not… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Philip Groves
1 year ago

The leading radical bishop in the Church of England who is also one of the most Senior Bishops in the Church of England has publically accepted a new province may be necessary. He has used the term “province”

Part of the collective belief of radicals is that such a thing is impossible. It’s written across post after post on this site.

The conversation has moved on. The most important radical you have has put a new province on the table

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Philip Groves
Philip Groves
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I like Bishop Stephen who is my bishop, but he has a typically C of E vague understanding about the Anglican Communion. The new province would need to be outside the Anglican Communion – see ACNA.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Philip Groves
1 year ago

SSM is about to change the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

That much we have known for some time

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

‘SSM is about to change the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.’

About to? The Anglican Communion has been dealing with this for two decades!

Cynthia
Cynthia
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Anything that happens outside of England doesn’t seem to count. Over 100 bishops at Lambeth this year signed a letter affirming LGBTQ+ people and our marriages. England is way behind TEC, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Scotland… It’s like that frustrating “radical bishop” language. Anyone who supports the expansion of marriage beyond the “ideal” of marriage circa 1950-the 1990s is radical.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Cynthia
1 year ago

Thanks to both of you for much-needed input and experience from across the Atlantic. It would be a real loss without your voices, and frankly the Anglican Christians from over the water have led the way for us, and been beacons of light.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Thanks Susannah, although for many years I was on the other side of the conversation.

Tom Downs
Tom Downs
1 year ago

Regarding those with a traditional view— Clergy have long had discretion over for whom they administered a sacrament. Bishops oversee their clergy, insuring they conform to the Church’s teaching and practice. If same sex marriage becomes part of that teaching and practice, bishops will have no discretion (except for those occasions when they personally officiate at a wedding). As to parish councils they have no discretion over who can be married in the church building. If a parish church is intended to serve its community and its clergy person refuses to officiate, another could be brought in. Why the need… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tom Downs
1 year ago

You have clearly not read Croft’s full statement.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Tom Downs
Tom Downs
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

You are correct. However, I do have a “thing” about those who would divide the community when there are obvious avenues to accommodate both sides without setting up private venues of isolation. It bothers me that some of us can’t claim our faith without claiming those with a differing view are beyond the pale, heretics of the worst sort.
Perhaps this stems from my experience as a diocesan communications director when I had to explain to the secular media why the hymn “they will know us by our love, by our love” no longer applied.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tom Downs
1 year ago

The only issue which arises and to which Croft offers some kind of answer is how do we get out of this mess. Croft makes some proposals that appeal to radicals. It is perfectly obvious what conservatives think about them. There is no point in saying it all over again, and again, and again We all want an exit plan. (From the mess) Croft has some helpful things to say there. A new province. New episcopal oversight. Church buildings treated as part of that congregational life not some kind of churchy town hall anybody has a right to hire. We… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I have not yet read the booklet (am hoping the full e-version will be available soon) but alternative episcopal oversight and an additional (non-geographical) province are not the same. The former is messy and has drawbacks but it has been done; and I recognise that, if local variation is permitted, issues may arise for clergy and congregations in which the bishop’s position is very different. Those of us who are affirming are used to this but I believe some flexibility may be required, even if the final system may be rather complicated, since some strongly non-affirming clergy accept women’s ordination… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Tom Downs
1 year ago

The need for special provisions is because same-sex marriage will not be part of the teaching and practice of the church, but a change in the process of reception. The Canadian situation is instructive. The canonical change was very narrowly rejected in the Order of Bishops at General Synod 2019, but since then the majority of dioceses have moved forward. In some dioceses, there are no restrictions. Other dioceses require the permission of the bishop on a case-by-case basis. Others require a parish to adopt, by vote of the vestry or membership, a resolution stating that they will marry same-sex… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jim Pratt
1 year ago

Croft’s theology is wrong but he knows his Diocese and the Church of England. He (the Church’s leading radical) accepts a new province is going to be needed.

We are not Canada

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I think a province for traditional teaching (ideally covering those who won’t ordain women too) is a very obvious outcome. It need not be a new province, however – use the Province of Canterbury and make both existing provinces cover the full geography of England. It’s cheaper than adding a new province and with modern communications the geography is no longer problematic. It could also keep the Archbishop of Canterbury traditional. Personally I don’t like that, but it’s a concession which I think could be offered to conservatives.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I think your suggestion is a really excellent idea – with one qualification.

Kate, opening up all of the old and deep wounds over the role of women right now would be a monumental mistake.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

But surely, as I have said before, it makes sense to have two paths (which you prefer embodied as provinces and I can see the advantages of your proposal):

1. A progressive path/province which fully embraced same sex marriage, the ordination and episcopation of women, re-marriage after divorce etc

2. A path/province aligned to traditional teaching as that is understood in the conservative parts of the Anglican Communion

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

If you are trying to reach a settlement over a really difficult issue it always more likely to succeed if you limit rather than expand the scope for areas of disagreement.

A settlement is always a coalition of people who are deeply frustrated and unhappy with the outcome, but accept it is the least worst option.

The fewer scars they are left with, the more likely it will hold.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

But, given people are suggesting that the Anglican Communion may need to be involved in any reorganisation of provinces, doesn’t it make sense to lump all the bits the conservatives like into a Canterbury province with the ‘problematic’ bits in a separate (York?) province they can (try to) ignore?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

That is a good point. To be honest my grasp of the “deep structures” of the Anglican Communion start to give out at this point, and I am probably flattering myself in thinking I was on solid ground up to now. The key for me, is that conservatives and those who seek change can now put down their weapons and start to fashion a settlement together. I am not a sentimentalist – we are not likely to emerge the other side of a settlement all planning to go on holiday together. We will go back to public positions that do… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Uh, I’m sure that Cantuar will appreciate having all the objecting parishes foisted on him. No, I haven’t read Oxford’s report. But I really don’t see why this has to be all that complicated. SSM doesn’t implicate an entire parish the way women’s ordination does. Yes, an incumbent may decline to conduct a same-sex marriage, and another priest may visit to do the office. Simples. But for people who don’t think a same-sex marriage is valid–they are not the ones being married. Therefore what exactly is their cognizable concern? Contamination of the building? Pollution of the priest? Who is going… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Jeremy
1 year ago

I agree. I think the reactionary (seeing as we’re getting called radical and they throw a tantrum about being identified as homophobic) elements in the church underestimate how extreme their views are, and how little time most people (even within the church) will have for their convoluted justifications of how equal marriage is a trojan horse for the undermining of the entire Christian faith. People will tolerate personal opt-outs to humour reactionary clergy, but I think it vanishingly unlikely that an attempt to declare certain churches out of bounds for same-sex couples seeking to marry will last long before it… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jeremy
1 year ago

I think liberals need a conservative province more than conservatives do. I know some ordained ministers want to marry and have sex. Some same sex couples want to marry in church. Ultimately they are secondary concerns compared to the safety of LGBT people who should be able to attend a church in their parish without being told that same sex relationships or gender reassignment are inherently sinful. Since conservatives refuse to stop such teaching, the remaining option is to move conservative teaching into a new province and infill any gaps in parish provision that leaves. Then the two paths can… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Jeremy and Jo. You do need to get hold of a copy of Croft’s essay. (It’s really annoying it is not just in pdf and in the public domain)

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Kate. Sorry, pressed your reply when it was for Jeremy and Jo

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

No problem. I have ordered a copy of the essay but it will take a few days to arrive.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

should be able to attend a church in their parish without being told that same sex relationships […] are inherently sinful Why? I quite often hear sermons telling people that their views on the environment, or taxation, or Brexit, are inherently sinful, with considerably less scriptural or theological support. What makes views about same-sex sexual acts any different? The point so often overlooked in these discussions is that there is, or ought to be, no separation of people into the inherently sinful and the inherently non-sinful, whether that separation be based on what they do in the bedroom or in… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

We all know each other’s theology on this site. It’s time to call a ceasefire

There is a brief window of opportunity to find a settlement.

We need to reach across the divide, stop repeating things we have said so many times before and find that way out of the quagmire.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

There is a brief window of opportunity to find a settlement.”
As explained above, I’m not convinced that the Church of England needs any “settlement” on this question.
Repetition of the contrary claim does not make it any more persuasive.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Why!

Because it is unsafe.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Why is it unsafe to be exposed to the expression of the view that something you do is sinful? It happens to all of us in church, and we all know ourselves to be sinful.

If you mean that identifying one group of people as sinful may be heard as justifying ill-treatment of that group, then of course such a thing can, and does, happen. But such abuses must always be a fundamental misunderstanding of the lesson that we must all learn over and over again “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

Nobody tries to lay hands on people and free them from the demon of supporting Brexit. Nobody tries to ban rich people from serving the church. Nobody insinuates that people who drive Chelsea tractors are a risk to children. Nobody tries to force low tax advocates into therapy to make them conform to their opinions. If all LGBT people had to fear was the sort of vague mumblings in the prayers that polluters get we would not have the problems we do. When a partnered gay person can become ABC as easily as an unrepentant former oil executive your comparisons… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

It was not my intention to insult anyone and if I did so, then I did so inadvertently and apologise. Nonetheless I stand by my point that the validity of a position is not negated by its abuse.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

When that position repeatedly leads to abuse then the position needs serious scrutiny.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Jo,

You are right and unreliable narrator is wrong.

It is intolerable when a conservative defence is made of the perpetuation of abuse.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 year ago

You say “if you mean identifying one group of people as sinful may be heard as justifying ill treatment of that group, then of course such a thing can and does happen”

When Jo B points out the obvious safeguarding implications of your attitude you stand by your claim.

You are clearly unaware of the safeguarding requirements within the Church of England. Social media is not the Wild West. You are answerable for what you say on this site.

Start choosing your words with care

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

Finally! Someone has the sense/guts to break the Careyite unanimity that has so hampered discussion of this every other issue where different views have been held.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
1 year ago

Knowing a bit about the Bishop of Oxford from the past – I think this is huge. I think the “pebble to start something” referred to earlier, might be a good analogy here. Let those on this site who need some encouragement, be cautiously encouraged. Plus, there is more in the Bishop’s statement to provide encouragement. Good on him!

Dr John Wallace
Dr John Wallace
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
1 year ago

Or as a cynical Anglican I wonder whether this is timed to deflect from criticism about his role (or lack of it) in the Christ Church affair? However I welcome this conversion, whatever its motivation.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

This is too important for point scoring

Alastair (living in Scotland)
Alastair (living in Scotland)
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

I suggest the first sentence is an unwarranted contribution to exchange of views.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

As a fellow cynical Anglican I did wonder if this would be the moment when Bishop Croft transforms from a bete noir of TA readers to one of their heroes…

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

While +Steven has often been mentioned in comments on TA, most such comments have had a limited number of authors and aren’t representative of any wider TA view.

Steven Buckley
Reply to  Dr John Wallace
1 year ago

Oh, for goodness sake. Of course not. The essay has been a year in the writing. The timing has everything to do with the conclusion of the LLF consultation and the College of Bishops meetings now taking place.

Andrew Lightbown
Andrew Lightbown
Reply to  Steven Buckley
1 year ago

Thanks Steven and whilst I don’t know about how long this has been in the writing I do know that it has been in the careful making for a very long time indeed.

Nicholas Henshall
Nicholas Henshall
1 year ago

Whilst fully recognising the complexities – and the challenges that the Bishop of Oxford makes – I would still invite us to celebrate and welcome the fact that a theologically literate, evangelical Bishop has chosen to make such a significant and strategic intervention.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
1 year ago

Precisely. This latest testimony from an Evangelical bishop in the Church of England; that his mind has been changed on the issue of Same-Sex Marriage (de facto in the civil sphere and not yet recognised by the C. of E.) seems miraculous in itself. Perhaps this will encourage more of the House of Bishops to come out from under their ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ to confess their own unease about the continuance of institutional sexism and homophobia within the national Church, which is still embracing a coherent and acceptable partnership with the State (as per the Queen’s permission for the Church… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

There are many of us evangelicals who have gone through similar transformations, Ron; I don’t think it’s especially miraculous. Or maybe the truly miraculous thing is for anyone to be open to the possibility that they might be wrong. Whether evangelical, anglo-catholic, liberal or whatever, most of us are not open to that possibility.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

It says a lot about the church of England that it is regarded as “miraculous” when a bishop simply carries out what might be considered to be one of his normal main functions, which is to provide theologically informed teaching around subjects of current interest in the church.

Why haven’t other bishops been doing this for the past five years?

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Why haven’t other bishops been doing this for the past five years?”
Because they have held back, waiting for the Lambeth Conference to take place.
Now that it has, the C of E bishops will again put their own flocks first. As arguably they should have done all along.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

Credit indeed to Dr Croft.

Now lets hope that other bishops show stature and honesty in the same way.
I doubt many will, sadly. They are a rather sad and barely competent bunch.

Charles Clapham
1 year ago

Over 25 years ago, when I was an ordinand at theological college, I organised a service to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (as it was then), and was immediately hauled in front of the college principal, Steve Croft, and read the riot act. So I suppose I ought to be grateful for this change of heart and intervention now, 25 years later. And indeed it is welcome as far as the future of the Church of England is concerned. But did it really need 25 years to get here?

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Charles Clapham
1 year ago

From my experience in The Episcopal Church in the US, 25 years is about the generational change point. From a solidly traditional stance in 1988 we moved to approving same-sex-couple blessings in 2012 and same-sex marriage in 2015.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

This is a timely and carefully orchestrated intervention which we call many to ask of their own bishops, where do you stand? No priest will ever be required to marry a same-gendered couple, in the same way that no priest is required to marry an opposite-gendered person during the lifetime of a previous spouse, except that a vanishingly small number of priests are in this category now. Of course, there is a long way to go. Parliament would need to remove the quadruple lock, which could expose ‘gay-free’ parishes to equality challenge. I doubt Parliament would want to write modified… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

No bishop or member of the clergy can now or ever could be compelled to act against their conscience either in the past or the future.

I do wish people would stop stating that reality as if conservatives need to be appreciative of it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Whether or not you think the consciences of affirming clergy are properly formed (people can make conscientious choices which are wrong), being forbidden to celebrate the marriage of a same-sex couple or (for a bishop) to ordain someone simply on the grounds that they are married to a same-sex partner does involve such compulsion.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Savi Hensman
1 year ago

Every single ordained person in the Church of England today took office on the understanding that SSM was not permitted.

There is no compulsion involved if you enter an agreement with consent – that is voluntarily choose to get ordained on the basis you cannot conduct SSM

You are confusing two entirely different categories.

NJW
NJW
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

When I was ordained, I could solemnise the marriage of anyone legally entitled to marry in their parish church. With the introduction of legislation to extend SSM to a wider range of genders and sexualities, I was forced to discriminate against those parishioners who wished to marry. Having sought never to discriminate, I now have to routinely discriminate against people who I believe to be made in the image of God.

My other observation is that parish churches are held in trust for their community – not on behalf of their congregation.

Rosalind R
Rosalind R
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Many ordained clergy in the C of E were ordained when SSM did not legally exist in the UK, nor Civil,Partnerships. So they could conduct any marriage that could legally take place in England. ( including that of divorcees, though usually did this quietly) . Since SSM has been legal in the UK, clergy are prevented from marrying some couples even if their conscience would allow it – but this was not the case when they were ordained. there is also a difference between knowing what as an ordained minister you can do , but recognising that it is not… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I see your point, Peter, but do not agree. It is possible to assent to enforcing rules which one believes are morally wrong if, on balance, one believes one is called by God to ordained ministry and that the good which may come from pursuing one’s calling outweighs the harm; or, like the Bishop of Oxford, to change one’s mind and feel real distress at having to treat people in way one regards as hurtful and unjust. To take a more extreme example, could you imagine some Christian laypeople before 1967 joining the police in England and finding their consciences… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Savi Hensman
1 year ago

To NJW, Rosalind and Savi,

Fair enough, but in reality the conscience issue is not going to be decisive (please don’t now tell me I am not taking it seriously !).

A settlement negotiation is now going to take place around the scope for differentiation/a new province. That is absolutely clear from public statements being made by leading radicals and conservatives.

I think we are all going to be surprised just how quickly the conversation will move on and issues we have debated for years suddenly become “yesterday’s argument”.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

There will of course be provision for those who will not solemnise a marriage of a same-gendered couple. I wish it were otherwise, but that is the reality. I don’t think a third province will fly. It was rejected over women’s ministry in all three orders and as it has turned out would have been over elaborate. The PEV/Maidstone system is more than adequate. If there is to be be a third province, it will be a ‘shadow’ province, and those parishes wishing to be part of it will have to pay for it. No-one will agree to amend the… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

You seem confident that those who seek change will get what they want without needing to settle.

Why does Steven Croft put the outline of a settlement negotiation on the table if it is not needed ?

I’m not naive. Perhaps you’re right and Croft is a pied piper.

Conservatives are not children.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Why does Steven Croft put the outline of a settlement negotiation on the table if it is not needed?”
Because he is trying to forward-manage the issue and avoid the State giving the church a nudge. As happened with women bishops.
Steven Croft’s writing may be hailed with great enthusiasm. But without having read it, I doubt it is perfect in its assessment of the situation or how best to change it.
People who feel that they are about to win anyway sometimes decline to “settle.”

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jeremy
1 year ago

Jeremy,

I am also no admirer of Croft, though obviously for different reasons.

I think your analysis may well be right in terms of the politics. However, I don’t think the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of your analysis.

Croft isn’t just anybody. He is also not alone.

I do not think dismissing the possibility of a settlement is a tenable position.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
1 year ago

Lives are being damaged by homophobia in the Church of England.
Priests have to make an agonising and wounding choice between their God given vocation and their God given sexual love.
Should the victimizers be entitled to honour and respect ?
I don’t think so.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

The leading radical bishop in the Church of England disagrees with you.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter could you please provide a reference? I want to clarify my position. In 2005 the English Bishops introduced a new requirement that all unmarried priests should formally commit to celibacy. Since the Church teaches that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, this demanded that Lesbian and Gay priests should commit to lifelong celibacy. Before 2005 there was no such requirement and that remains the case in Wales and Ireland. The decision of 2005 goes well beyond a question of individual conscience and I believe it constitutes abuse and it is morally wrong. I absolutely refuse… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

David, the simple belief that the Bible condemns man-man sex, (which opinion can be held in fidelity and conscience, by Christians trying to obey what they believe God says)… that is not homophobia. If we disparage people and call them homophobes for holding a coherent theological view, then I think it’s a mistake. Of course there is homophobia in church as in country, but some people being homophobes does not equal all people being homophobes. ‘Conservative’ Christians have a place in our Church, and some may disagree with their views on sexuality (I do) but holding a conscientious position in… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I disagree. It is homophobic for reasons I have explained many times. It is also somewhat hypocritical for conservatives to demand respect for their individual consciences having spent the past decades denying the conscience of people like David.

But we are where we are and forgiveness will need to be part of what is required from LGBT Christians as part of a new settlement.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Susannah, I think the incoherence lies in the means by which some people come to their reading of Scripture on one issue, but on other issues apply an entirely different manner of reading. Coherency requires consistency in how one reads the sacred text and applies its lessons. Of course, one still has full exercise of conscience even if one is inconsistent or incoherent.

I agree, however, that the term “homophobe” is likely useless, and does not advance the conversation. I would prefer we stick with the theology rather than psychology.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

David,

I wanted to reply to you because you referenced me personally.

I am afraid the tone of your comments is so hostile I am not willing to engage with what you are saying.

I wish you well, but the language you use is too extreme.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I fail to see why David Hawkins (who does not seemingly hide behind a nom de plume) should be rebuked for using ‘strong language’ by you.
I cannot detect much strong language in his comments.
He obviously feels strongly about this issue and is entitled to express how he feels.
I have suffered from your prissy rebukes and wonder whether you feel yourself to be appointed as moderator on this website?
Others have strongly held opinions and at times angers.
If you are offended by the strong convictions of others, others may find some of your pedagogic grandeur tiresome.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

Sorry, but I find Peter considerate and respectful in all exchanges with him, here and elsewhere. I’ve never found him prissy, but rather, principled and measured. He has stood up for me, against the misogyny and abuse hurled at me elsewhere by some fellow conservatives, swimming against the tide. He was objecting above to some ‘strong language’ and I share that view in this instance: the other contributor referred to ‘conservative parishes’ with the comment “it is too much to expect me to “honour” their disgusting homophobia”. Frankly, that’s hostile commentary to conservative evangelicals posting or reading here, framing them… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
1 year ago

I promise you it was not my intention to offend either David or yourself as a consequence of my personal style.

I apologise if I have done so.

Tony
Tony
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Like others, I find the term radical unhelpful. Bishop Steven is not a theological radical. But he is seeking reform. Reformist seems a much quieter term for what is proposed.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

Anthony Archer raises an excellent point. He writes ‘we call many to ask of their own bishops where do you stand?’ Why not do that, folks. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby made it quite clear in conversation with Ann Widecombe that marriage is between a man and a woman and only sex within marriage is permitted. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU4OgvDW3XQ Admittedly this was a while ago BUT has he changed his mind now – why not ask? The Bishop of Durham, speaking on Times Radio, has made it clear that he would not marry two people of the same gender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXHNE8l6Uto… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  David Hawkins
1 year ago

Following on from Susannah’s point (though I disagree with her on a clear biblical position, taking into account New Testament approaches to the Hebrew Bible), surely we are part of a church in which, inevitably, people will sometimes get things wrong, being human and hence fallible? Sometimes we ourselves will do so. As a lesbian involved for forty years in seeking greater inclusivity on sexuality, I recognise the damage done by homophobia – but I was non-affirming myself initially and many Christians try to treat others with care and respect while not being fully LGBT+-affirming. I believe that creating space… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Savi Hensman
1 year ago

Creating space for diversity is worthy and should be achieved if possible but the priority has to be making the church safe for vulnerable LGBT people. That means either ensuring full geographic coverage of affirming churches or, at a minimum, prohibiting teaching against same sex marriage or gender reassignment in the presence of under-18s.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate
Kate
Kate
1 year ago

I will reserve final judgement until I have seen the booklet but, if the commentary is reliable, this is important not just because +Stephen has broken ranks to call for change (brave and very welcome) but because he has set out the theology behind his call. That second point is massive. So much of the objection to change has been expressed as the need to resist social pressures so saying that the reason for change is theological takes the discussion to a new level. It’s where it belongs. It may help to persuade some of those who are undecided.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

Now he is joined by +Worcester and +Dudley. I expect more to go public, perhaps in both directions

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

Their statement here.

I know others who share these views, but they will choose their own time to express their positions.

Meanwhile the LLF process continues.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

The bishops publicly stating that they disagree with the CofE’s doctrine of marriage could have to abide by General Synod’s more conservative decision. Are these statements in effect their resignations if the status quo prevails.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

Now joined by +Portsmouth

Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

English folk on this site have often pointed out to me the differences between our situation in Canada and the situation with the C of E in England. Reading the comments here, there is one glaring difference that I don’t think anyone has mentioned. In my small suburban church in western Canada, I do not officiate at many weddings. I have been in my current parish for 22 years, and I think in my busiest year, I had six weddings. Other churches in the city are busier, especially those with old traditional buildings. But none are what the average C… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
1 year ago

If anti–SSM people were to get their own province, be in no doubt that anti women priest people would demand their own province, for that is what they always wanted. And I do not believe that membership of the two groups is coterminous – far from it in fact. There would be some who would be pro one and anti the other, and vice-versa, so the idea of a single province to serve both factions is a non-starter. Having a separate province for FiF/SSWSH was fiercely resisted for good reasons, and I don’t think that the case for it would… Read more »

Martin
Martin
1 year ago

Flying bishops for those who are against female ordination and alternative episcopal structure for those who are against same sex marriage.

C’mon. How many bishops do we need then?

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Now that +Worcester and +Dudley have joined +Oxford in their stated acceptance of Same-Sex Marriage in the Church of England; we others in the Anglican Communion who accept the authenticity of bonded S/S Relationships are waiting – with bated breath – for the inevitable outcry from GAFCON that will declare their official separation from the Anglican Communion that still stays loyal to our LAMBETH and Canterbury beginnings.

All we do not want is for GAFCON to subvert the title ‘ANGLICAN’

We who remain may then, perhaps, feel free to propagate the Gospel for ALL people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Father Ron Smith
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

Bishops of Reading, Dorchester and Buckingham have also endorsed the views of the Bishop of Oxford and stated publicly their support for gay sexuality. So that’s six bishops presently, though I should expect most to observe the ‘silence’ until further down the LLF process, while discernment and decision-making are still going on. Silence was kind of the agreed process until the end of LLF so as to show impartiality of process, and genuine listening rather than be exposed to accusations of ‘bad faith’. There will also undoubtedly be bishops who come out ‘against’ liberal changes, for example (based on public… Read more »

Ronnie Smith
1 year ago

One does wonder why, when most people out in the world have recovered from earlier misunderstandings about the etiology of gender and sexuality (both animal and human) – as they have had to discover about the complexity of the cosmos – our Mother Church of England has to retain archaic ideas about a commonly recognised element of human thriving (loving committed human relationships) that a significant minority of its membership is not created in the traditional ‘binary’ gender/sexual mode? That a theologically important matter, like that of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, is not considered a matter… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Ronnie Smith
1 year ago

What exactly do you think we have learned about the nature of human sexuality that was not already known to, say, the ancient Romans and Greeks two thousand years ago: and how does that knowledge how how people are affect our judgement of how they ought to behave?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 year ago

As a gay man I’m somewhat bemused by the level of excitement this paper has generated. One paper from a diocesan bishop doesn’t spell liberation from the church’s oppression for me. It’s a timid step forward but there’s an awful long way yet to go before the LGBTQI community will feel equal and equally welcome in the CofE. Archbishop Welby has just recently reaffirmed that gay sex is sinful. There are an awful lot of ConEvos who will fight like rats in a sack to maintain the status quo. At the time of writing the LGBTQ+ bishops are still beneath… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

I am a conservative evangelical.

I’m a nobody so it would serve no purpose, but I give you my word I would sit down with you today and work out a settlement.

The status quo is finished. Only a fool thinks it can be maintained.

I am certain the majority view amongst conservatives is we need a new settlement

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter please know that I am very much a nobody too! I’m still getting used to being retired but there’s something very liberating about having one foot in and one foot out of the CofE’s political and institutional life. This is in no way meant as a rebuke; but I’m weary of discussing my sexuality as if it were a problem. I like the fact that I find other men sexually attractive and wouldn’t have it any other way; it’s all I’ve ever known. I love the Bible as much as you do but in a different way I guess.… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Being bellicose with anybody is reprehensible.

My position is, as you say, that marriage is as it has been historically understood. However I have no wish to go further or to badger anybody.

I think we have a shared problem. (I’m not sure where you are a resident, so it may not be a practical issue for you if you are outside the UK).

I genuinely believe conservative evangelicals – at least the sensible ones – have no interest at all in being needlessly in conflict.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

I take your point, Father Dean, because nothing is sorted or decided yet. Just on this: “Archbishop Welby has just recently reaffirmed that gay sex is sinful.” I think it’s more nuanced than that. He was desperately trying to hold the Communion together. What he actually said was that the ‘position of the Anglican Communion’ as expressed, for example, in Lambeth 1998: I:10 remained unchanged. That was simple statement of fact… not personal opinion on the subject. Set against that, in the Intro to the Human Dignity session he boldly asserted that there were two very different theological positions on… Read more »

Andy
Andy
1 year ago

As LLF is a process of listening, I share a lengthy engagement with Bishop Stephen’s essay from another Oxford cleric … https://2713aced-d665-4866-bcd0-8f7d81f2f5fe.usrfiles.com/ugd/2713ac_4f9a3958db324778b807e9507fb7c1b3.pdf

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Andy
1 year ago

I have not yet read either essay, but I commend Vaughan Roberts for publishing his essay as an easily downloadable PDF document, thus ensuring the widest and fastest possible dissemination.

I think it regrettable that in 2023 the Bishop of Oxford (or his communications advisors) think that the Bishop’s essay should only be available in hard copy, through the post, and for a fee. It smacks of assumptions from previous centuries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

Kindle?? Surely not.

So the only way to get this document on-line is to have an Amazon account, and collude with Jeff Bezos, strike breaker and environmental destroyer extraordinaire?

Why not simply have it downloadable as a PDF from the diocesan website?

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  Andy
1 year ago

That is quite some knee-jerk reaction which came out within days of the publication of an essay that had taken a year to write. I wonder if that really means that the bishop’s essay was listened to carefully?

David Runcorn
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

As Vaughan Roberts himself makes clear, he was one of a range of folk that Bishop Steven chose to share and discuss his essay with as he was working on it. So he would have been very familiar with the content and convictions. It does not read as knee-jerk to me and he expresses respect for Bishop Steven’s integrity, even while disagreeing.

Peter
Peter
1 year ago

I am a conservative evangelical and can only speak in regard to that perspective. Please understand I am emphatically not addressing this comment to those people who want change. Now is a time to stop arguing with people for the sake of winning the argument. Stop using phrases or terms that we know are provocative. Stop picking holes in other people’s positions. If an apology is needed, offer it. If somebody makes a sensible suggestion affirm it. Of course, all of these apply to me as much as anybody. A settlement is surely there in outline form. We could so… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I really hope so. There are different views within the Church of England, but God undoubtedly wants us to do our best to live good lives, and open to God’s grace and love towards each other as far as possible. Even with our differences, we – all of us who try our best to follow Jesus – are Church. There is one test in all of this over ‘what is right?’ but there is also another test for each of us: ‘Can we love one another?’ And a further test to come, as you point out, to build a settlement… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Susannah, Peter, we need more people like you in the corridors of power in the church. Thank you for your Christ-like grace. Perhaps if we all started with the heavenly banquet and worked our way back from there, we could find a way to recognise each other as wannabe faithful followers of Christ and the teachings of the scriptures.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I have just read Bishop Steven’s essay, and I must say I was impressed. A coherent argument, well structured, and with a mix of personal narrative and scriptural analysis. Having said that my heart sinks at the thought of some sort of split, with pro and anti LGBTQI churches having different teachings and different structures and different bishops. It leaves me with one question needing legal advice. My understanding is that a parish church has a legal duty to marry anybody who comes to it with a valid connection to the parish, whatever their faith. So if church same sex… Read more »

NJW
NJW
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

My suspicion is that parliament will not accept parish churches providing uneven treatment, and that if the CofE makes a request to be permitted to allow SSMs then all parishes would have to fulfil the current obligation to allow anyone resident or with a qualifying connection to marry in their parish church. I cannot think that MPs will pass a law that would enshrine (in the language of the secular world) discriminatory practices. I can’t get my head around the outcome that this assumption might head us toward – but two possibilities are a personal opt-out for clergy working in… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  NJW
1 year ago

Many thanks for your reply, which confirmed my suspicion. I am not an expert on Anglican legal or constitutional matters. But it seems to me that if we do split the Church and allow opt-outs, as seems to be thought the most likely option, then such a split might risk ending the status of the Church of England as the established state church, as the ultimate logical consequence of Church of England churches refusing to fulfil a legal requirement to provide their services to all people in the parish.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  NJW
1 year ago

You simplify the issue somewhat and end up granting parliament more of a say than they will actually get

The “c of e” is not going to send in a one line request for legislation allowing SSM.

If, and it remains a big if, there is a general settlement it will be a package. Parliament will have no scope to cherry pick their way through the package to implement the bits Ben Bradshaw likes and discard the bits he does not like

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Peter,

I agree with you, it is complex. And I am not naïve. All I am trying to draw attention to is that nowhere so far (apart from Cranmer today) have I seen any discussion of how the suggested split into pro-anti SSM provinces or whatever might conflict with the status of an established church, or how it might play out in a Parliament which may be unsympathetic and impatient of endless requests for permission to discriminate.

Before we go too far down this “split” route we need to be aware of and evaluate all the consequences.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I think I would say “walk apart as neighbours”rather than “split” but I take your point.

I’m having my own problems on this site with the unhinged wing of the conservatives. They are always eager to slap a heretic in the face with some theology they have scraped off the floor. We have a really tough time ahead.

Ignore the faux orthodox head bangers – especially the ones on this site – and we might just find a way through the muddle !

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I agree that as part of the Established Church, a local parish church exists for *everyone* living in that parish. Therefore, if gay marriage is allowed in the Church of England in the future, then a couple living in any parish in the country will be given the right to request a wedding in their own parish church. However, individual conscience should be protected (which I think Parliamentarians would agree about), and therefore the parish priest there should always have the right to decline to carry out the marriage themselves on grounds of religious conscience, but in that eventuality the… Read more »

Nigel Ashworth
Nigel Ashworth
1 year ago

Stephen Croft highlights that the current position of the Churchof England is creating a “radical dislocation between the Church of England and the culture and society we are attempting to serve.” Parts of the Church will see this as a diagnosis of something wrong; the Church is slipping into a hetero-normative ghetto. Others will imagine the dislocation as a sign of prophetic witness, the Church’s salt in society’s decay. Either way, the dislocation stands against the privileged place the Church continues to have in national life. This privilege will be very evident at the Coronation. But meanwhile the Church of… Read more »

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