We have heard much in the run-up to the delayed Lambeth Conference about walking together as a communion — a communion whose Primates have pledged to work against homophobia.
The Church Times reports (2 August): Diocese of Bristol reviews Ugandan link after Anti-Homosexuality Act
…In a statement on Tuesday, Bishop Faull said that her diocese had been blessed by “enduring friendships” within the Church of Uganda for 50 years, but that, “For the time being, the Diocesan Link Committee will cease to meet and the diocese will be reviewing all institutional links — current and prospective — at the next Bishop’s Council in December.”
She explained that, while she welcomed Dr Kaziimba’s opposition to the death penalty, “as the Bishop of Bristol, I am compelled to reiterate that the basic dignity and safety of LGBTQ+ human beings in Uganda must not be conflated with theological debates about same-sex marriage in church or matters of abusive behaviour. However, there is a legitimate space for those conversations amongst well-meaning people who can disagree without threat of imprisonment or danger…”
An earlier (26 July) statement on the diocesan website: Bishop Viv provides clarity on the future of diocesan links to Church of Uganda.7 Comments
This letter was recently published on the websites of several inclusive organisations, see list of signatories at the end.
A Public Letter on behalf of Inclusive Organisations to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of London and Truro as co-chairs of the LLF implementation process 11th July 2023
Dear Archbishops and Bishops,
We write in response to the growing campaign by some leaders and bishops in the Church of England to delay and obstruct the progress of the Living in Love & Faith journey by asking for the Prayers of Love and Faith to be approved under Canon B2, requiring two-thirds majorities in all three houses of the General Synod.
Resistance to LLF
We are saddened that this campaign indicates, above all, the failure of many in the Church to engage fully in the LLF journey in which we have participated together for the last six years, and into which so much valuable theological and pastoral reflection has been poured. This is not, of course, an accidental failure, when groups like the Church of England Evangelical Council have actively discouraged churches from making use of the LLF resources. However, it appears clear to us (and some have been told directly by conservative colleagues) that the conservative view of marriage and sex was very fully represented throughout the LLF process, and we have sought to engage with it in good faith…
Read the full text of the Letter here.
Andrew Goddard subsequently published this response.32 Comments
The Church Times reported yesterday that Church organisations urge Bishops not to commend blessings for same-sex couples.
As the story goes on to explain,
…A note at the foot of the letter, which has been sent to every bishop in the C of E, states that “all signatories are leaders of networks/organisations, but are signing in their personal capacities, recognising they cannot claim to speak for everyone that they lead.”
The full text of the letter, including the list of signatories, can be found here.91 Comments
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this: Statement on the Church of Uganda’s support for Anti-Homosexuality Act.
The Archbishop of York has followed suit: Statement on the stance of the Ugandan Church on the criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people in Uganda
The full texts of both statements are copied below the fold.76 Comments
Updated again Thursday
Bishops propose prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and for God’s blessing for same-sex couples
The full text of the press release linked above is also in this PDF document: Prayers of Love and Faith 18.1.23.
There is a second press release here.
The Church Times has some additional information, and quotes from bishops, in this report: Bishops opt for blessings for same-sex couples in church, but not marriage.
And there is a further article reporting reactions to the press releases: Campaigners respond with fear and dismay to Bishops’ proposals to bless same-sex unions.
Two further articles from the Church Times:
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, has written to Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Portsmouth, about LLF. You can see her letter in full here. Her tweet summarises:
I have written to the Bishop of Portsmouth in advance of February’s General Synod regarding discussions on how the Church will move forward on the issue of same sex relationships. I hope they will back reform.
The Diocese has replied on Twitter:
Church Times reports further: MPs seek movement from Bishops on same-sex marriage
…The Church Times understands that at least 16 MPs have written to their area or diocesan bishops recommending that the Church change its position on same-sex marriage. This is understood to include the Labour MPs Saron Hodgson, Lilian Greenwood, Nadia Whittome, Alex Norris, Lyn Brown, Kim Leadbetter, Angela Eagle, and Luke Pollard. Neil Coyle, who sits as an independent after his suspension from the Labour Party last year, is also reported to have sent a letter, as has Alicia Kearns, the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton…
Bishop John Inge has written an open letter to the Diocese, setting out why he believes that the celebration and honouring of monogamous, faithful same-sex relationships by the Church of England would be consonant with the scriptural witness.
The letter begins:
Dear Friends in Christ,
In our recent letter to the clergy of the Diocese of Worcester, the Bishop of Dudley and I wrote that we think the time has come for the Church of England to celebrate and honour monogamous, faithful same-sex relationships. We added that we believe this to be consonant with the scriptural witness but did not set out our reasoning. We merely commended the Bishop of Oxford’s booklet, Living together in Love and Faith.[i] I feel I should summarise my own thinking on the subject and shall attempt to do so here.
The full text of his letter can be read here.21 Comments
Updated Wednesday 5 October
Our most recent report on this was published on 2 September: Living in Love and Faith – Listening.
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England has recently posted these articles:
Helen King has posted these items at Shared Conversations:
Colin Coward has posted at Unadulterated Love:
The Church Times reports: Bishops say meetings with LGBTQ reps at Lambeth Palace were fruitful
I will add links to any further relevant articles that are published.
The LLF Roadmap currently (updated 5 October) says [plus exact dates as reported to TA]:
|Sep-Oct||Next Steps Group||Members of the Next Steps Group of bishops are holding meetings with representatives of 21 organisations and networks representing a wide possible range of views relating to identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. The organisations are listed below. *|
|Sep||College of Bishops||This meeting, which was to initiate the bishops’ process of discernment and decision-making, was cancelled because of the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Instead bishops are doing some reflective work individually ahead of the meeting in October.|
|Oct||College of Bishops||Bishops will gather for two days to begin the discernment process, including considering proposals for a way forward, the implications for formal decision-making, and how this will be communicated to members of General Synod and the wider Church. [31 October – 2 November]|
|Dec||College & House of Bishops||Bishops will gather for two days to finalise proposals and reflect on what is needed to support the decision-making processes in General Synod. [12 -14 December]|
|Jan 23||College of Bishops||Bishops will finalise proposals to bring to Synod in February. [17 January]|
*The list of organisations and networks is:
|The Society||Mosaic||Affirming Catholics|
|Society of the Holy Cross||Church Missionary Society||CEEC|
|New Wine||USPG||The Church Society|
|HTB Network||Changing Attitude (England)||Living Out|
|One Body One Faith||Campaign for Equal Marriage||Evangelical Group of GS|
|Diverse Church||Ozanne Foundation||The Junia Network|
|GS Human Sexuality Group||Society of Catholic Priests||Inclusive Church|
Updated yet again, Wednesday 28 September
Numerous recent news reports have described how The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth, the daughter of Desmond Tutu, was not allowed to officiate in a Church of England building at the funeral of her godfather, Martin Kenyon. Here is a selection of such links:
Monday’s newspapers contain letters to the editor about this, see
Tuesday’s Church Times contains a lengthy report, Hereford bar on Canon Tutu van Furth over marital status sparks widespread reaction. Note this paragraph:
Lambeth Palace refused to comment, and directed all press enquiries to the diocese.
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has issued this press release:
Tutu Legacy Foundation dismayed at the callous position of the Church of England
A message from the Bishop of Hereford to his diocese has been published on Twitter by The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the CofE, which has also posted this article: “Churlish and hurtful”. This message is also copied below the fold.
The procedure for clergy outside the British Isles obtaining the relevant archbishop’s permission to officiate is described in detail on this CofE web page: scroll down to the heading Overseas (“Archbishop’s”) Permissions to Officiate (OPTO)
The Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 can be found here.
The House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage dated 2014, can be found here.167 Comments
It starts with
Same Sex Marriage Research 2022
Same sex marriage – a clear majority of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage is right despite the church’s refusal to permit same sex marriage.
Fast changing attitudes within society and the Church of England have led to a broad acceptance of same sex marriage, with well over half (55%) of those identifying as Anglican and living in England believing same sex marriage is ‘right’. What is more, nearly three quarters (72%) of those under 50 believe that it is ‘right’, despite the Church of England’s official stance against same-sex relationships.
The Poll, commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation and conducted over by YouGov, repeated a question asked about people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage in 2013, 2016 and 2020. It shows a constant increase over time in the number of people who self-identify as Anglican believing same-sex marriage is ‘right’ (from 38% in 2013 to 48% in 2020 to 55% in 2022) and a marked decrease in numbers believing it is ‘wrong’ (from 47% in 2013 to just 29% in 2022).
An overwhelming majority of the British public now clearly support same sex marriage, with just a fifth opposed to it. This is a significant change in just 9 years.
and continues with details of the poll results and links to the full results.
The Church Times has this report: YouGov poll: more than half of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage to be ‘right’.18 Comments
There were a number of questions raised at General Synod concerning two recent senior Church of England appointments. Earlier there had been two letters in the Church Times, first one about the appointment of the new Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, see here, and then a further letter (scroll down, from Mr John Brydon) concerning this, and also about the appointment of the new Third Church Estates Commissioner.
At Synod, four Questions were raised.
The Church Times reported in detail on all this: Archbishop quizzed about selection of Appointments Secretary. This article includes details of a supplementary question from Rebecca Chapman (see first letter above):
…She asked the Archbishop to confirm that “prior to appointing Mr Knott to this role, you were aware of the contents of the lawyer’s report sent to your office in April 2017, which explicitly lays out seven identified breaches of employment law perpetrated by Mr Stephen Knott when dealing with my return to work at Lambeth Palace following maternity leave, and whether or not you shared that information with the panel who approved Mr Knott for this role.”
After hearing Mrs Chapman’s question, the session’s chair, Debbie Buggs (London), said that it contained “imputation” and “shouldn’t be asked”. The Archbishop need not reply. This was later challenged by Jayne Ozanne (Oxford), to a “Hear, hear” and applause from the floor…
…The lawyer’s report, a private legal opinion prepared by a solicitor, Jane Stuart-Smith, has been seen by Church Times. It says: “Two days before Rebecca Chapman’s return to work she had no job, no office and there appeared to be no serious attempt to address the situation by her line managers. Rebecca Chapman made all the running and found a creative solution to a situation that was totally unacceptable.
“Lambeth Palace narrowly avoided a tribunal claim for sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and breach of the Part Time Workers regulations and breach of the Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations. Fortunately, the situation was resolved because she took the initiative.”
It does not name Mr Knott and the Church Times understands that while his duties included the administration of HR duties, he was not responsible for decisions taken. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “Rebecca Chapman was a valued employee who remained in post and later went on to leave her role at Lambeth Palace on good terms…
…Ms Stuart-Smith’s report was paid for by Mrs Chapman’s husband, who in a letter, also seen by the Church Times, informed the Archbishop that he would be providing a pot of £20,000 to enable access for staff at Lambeth Palace to legal employment advice and guidance if needed. Mrs Chapman confirmed on Tuesday that it had been used by staff.
There is another African country, whose Court of Appeal has just confirmed the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships. See for example, this Reuters report: Botswana appeals court upholds ruling that decriminalised gay sex, or this in the Guardian: Botswana upholds ruling decriminalising same-sex relationships.
The Anglican Peace and Justice Network reports: Alice Mogwe Receives Prestigious Award
Botswana activist Alice Mogwe spoke about the African and Anglican roots of her commitment to human dignity as she was presented with the prestigious Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Human Rights Award for 2021. Mogwe, the President of the International Federation of Human Rights, is a leading figure in the world-wide human rights community and in 2018 she became the first person from civil society to address a High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
In her acceptance speech entitled ‘What I learnt on the Way’ she emphasised the significance of human dignity as the basis of all right relationships between people and peoples. The concept of Botho – made famous as Ubuntu by her friend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – is the foundation of all she has fought for from her awakening to the present day…
The full text of her acceptance speech can be found here.7 Comments
Updated Saturday afternoon
On 22 October, we published Anglican bishops in Ghana support anti-gay legislation. This was updated on 26 October to add the first statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.
Yesterday, 12 November, the archbishop issued another statement: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement following a meeting with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana. This is copied in full immediately below.
The Church Times reported this way: Welby apologises for Ghana LGBTQ+ pronouncement.
Update: Today, the General Synod Questions and Answers file was published (ahead of the session next Tuesday afternoon). Two questions relate to Ghana. These are copied below the fold.
Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement following a meeting with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana last week:
On 3rd November, I met online with the Anglican Archbishop of Ghana, the Most Revd Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, and several bishops and senior clergy from the Anglican Church of Ghana. We discussed their response to the draft Bill that is before the Ghanaian parliament, aimed at strengthening family life but including within it provision for the criminalisation of many LGBTQI+ people.
I welcomed this conversation, which should have happened before my previous statement. That is not mere diplomacy: Christ commands us to speak directly and prayerfully with our brothers and sisters. I apologised for failing to do so.
We affirmed that the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 represents the last and most widely accepted statement by the Anglican Communion on the question of human sexuality.
We agreed that all human beings are made in God’s image and are worthy of love, respect and dignity, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to demonstrate the love of God by protecting all vulnerable people and communities.
This was a conversation between equals: I have no authority over the Church of Ghana, nor would I want any. I say that partly because of Britain’s colonial history in Ghana, but also because of the very nature of the Anglican Communion. We are a global family of churches who are autonomous but interdependent: a holy, catholic, apostolic Church bound together by history, sacraments, liturgy, and the love of Jesus Christ for each and every person.
One of the key conclusions of the meeting is that human dignity is always paramount, and that cultural, social and historical contexts must also be considered and understood.
I encourage continued good conversation with the Anglican Church of Ghana, with the same courteous but clear and robust conversation as I experienced, ahead of any future public statements.43 Comments
Updated 25 October and 26 October
The Telegraph reported last week: Ghana’s parliament to vote on what could be world’s toughest anti-gay laws
From the USA, both the Living Church and Episcopal Café have also reported this story:
The Anglican bishops of Ghana have issued this statement:
We, the House of Bishops representing the Anglican Church, Ghana (Internal Province of Ghana) have thrown our weight behind the anti-gay (LGBTQI+) Bill currently before the House of Parliament, Ghana. Our support is borne out of the belief that LGBTQI+ “is unbiblical and ungodly”.
We see LGBTQI+ as unrighteousness in the sight of God and therefore will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the bill comes into fruition.
We further state that, aside Christianity, the Ghanaian tradition and culture do not permit such act. This is about morality today and that of the future generation yet unborn. We as leaders must leave a legacy everyone will be proud of. Christ- like legacy of hope. It will be recalled that earlier on in the year, (28th February 2021) during the enthronement of His Grace, the Most Reverend Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith as Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and all Angels, AsanteMampong, His Excellency the President of Ghana in no uncertain terms, condemned this unholy act.
The Anglican Church, Ghana sees this homosexual practice as an act condemned by scriptures both in the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 20:13 clearly declares that, a male lying with a fellow male is an abomination and punishable by death. Similarly, in the New Testament, Paul speaks of homosexuality as “contrary to sound doctrine” as recorded in 1 Timothy 1:10 ‘for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine’ It must be noted in our earlier declaration that, the church does not condemn persons of homosexuality tendencies but absolutely condemn the sinful acts and activities that they perform.
We therefore appeal to our members and the public not to embark on any form of harassment, intimidation, hostilities etc. on individuals or groups associated with LGBTQI+ but rather, see them as potential souls to be won for Christ.
We as a church assures that, we will gladly open our counselling and support centres for the needed transformation services required by these persons or groups. We further advocate for intense education on the Human Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 to avoid acts of emotionalism and sentimentality by our members and the general public.
We will consistently urge our members and the general public to join the church as it prays towards eliminating any impediments towards the realization of the bill. We are hopeful that the House of Parliament will listen to the cry of many Ghanaians who are anxious to see the bill passed. May God continue to bless our beautiful homeland Ghana and free us from all forms of unrighteousness.
Dr Charlie Bell wrote this letter to the editor of the Church Times:
Sir, — This week, the Anglican Church in Ghana urged the government to get on and pass the anti-LGBTQI Bill. The Bill calls for the imprisonment of LGBTQI activists and those who show public displays of affection, for the criminalisation of LGBTQI support groups, the implementation of forms of conversion therapy and forced surgery for intersex people.
Not a word has been spoken by any bishop in the Church of England about this looming, Church-sponsored infringement of basic human rights. It is quite scandalous that our pledge of commitment to the Anglican Communion appears to focus on the men in power rather than the most vulnerable in the pews.
Via Media.News published this by Peter Leonard: Ghana: “Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have….!”
Portsmouth Diocese has published: Senior staff issue statement on our links with Ghana
A statement regarding our links with the Anglican Church in Ghana, and the support of its bishops for a bill being considered by the country’s Parliament:
Our bishop-designate, Bishop Jonathan Frost, our commissary bishop, Bishop Rob Wickham, and the senior staff of the Diocese of Portsmouth said, “As a diocese, we have long-standing, formal links with the Anglican Church in Ghana, which we value. However, we are dismayed to hear that the country’s Anglican bishops have thrown their weight behind the ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’ Bill.
“We are seeking urgent conversations with our colleagues in Ghana to ask why – not least in the light of the communique signed by all Anglican Primates in 2016, in which they pledged to reject criminal sanctions against members of the LGBT+ community, and to challenge homophobia.
“We strongly oppose the bill currently being considered by the Ghanaian Parliament, which proposes imprisonment of members of the LGBT+ community for being who they are, and to criminalise those who wish to support them. We believe this to be a fundamental violation of people’s human rights, which we believe will lead to state-sponsored violence that will threaten the lives of those in the LGBT+ community and their friends. As Christians, we also believe this stigmatises people in a way that does not affirm the value of each person as a unique individual, created in God’s image.
“We are committed to our relationship with our Anglican brothers and sisters in Ghana, and there is much mutual respect. Our close relationship prompts us to challenge each other as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, sharpening each other’s thinking and speaking up against injustice in our respective countries.”
Statement made by:
- The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, Dean of York and Bishop-designate of Portsmouth
- The Rt Rev Rob Wickham, commissary bishop for the Diocese of Portsmouth
- The Very Rev Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth
- The Ven Peter Leonard, Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight
- The Ven Jenny Rowley, Archdeacon of Portsdown
- Canon Will Hughes, acting Archdeacon of the Meon
- The Rev Allie Kerr, associate Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight
- Victoria James, Diocesan Secretary
- The Rev Max Cross, chairman of Portsmouth’s Inter-Diocesan West Africa Link (IDWAL) committee
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said today:
“I am gravely concerned by the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament. I will be speaking with the Archbishop of Ghana in the coming days to discuss the Anglican Church of Ghana’s response to the Bill.
“The majority of Anglicans within the global Anglican Communion are committed to upholding both the traditional teaching on marriage as laid out in the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I:10, and the rights of every person, regardless of sexual orientation, before the law. In Resolution I:10, the Anglican Communion also made a commitment “to assure [LGBTQ+ people] that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” Meanwhile on numerous occasions the Primates of the Anglican Communion have stated their opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex attracted people: most recently, and unanimously, in the communiqué of the 2016 Primates’ Meeting.
“I remind our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Ghana of these commitments.
“We are a global family of churches, but the mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ.”
1. The 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10: https://www.anglicancommunion.org/resources/document-library/lambeth-conference/1998/section-i-called-to-full-humanity/section-i10-human-sexuality
2. The 2016 Primates’ Meeting Communiqué: https://www.anglicannews.org/features/2016/01/communique-from-the-primates-meeting-2016.aspx
Here is the official Methodist press release: Conference confirms resolutions on marriage and relationships
Following prayerful consideration by the whole Church, the Methodist Conference has voted to confirm provisional resolutions on the principles or qualities of good relating, understanding of cohabitation and same sex marriages conducted on Methodist premises or by Methodist office-holders.
A report on marriage and relationships, ‘God in Love Unites Us’, was received by the Conference in 2019 and the local District Synods were asked to consider the provisional resolutions and report back to this year’s Conference which is being held this week in Birmingham. The Conference received a report on the results of the local conferring which showed that 29 out of the 30 Synods confirmed support for the provisional resolutions.
The Revd Sonia Hicks, President of the Conference, prayed ahead of the main debate on Wednesday morning in Birmingham, asking that the Conference’s “words may be imbibed with your grace, with tenderness from on high.”
A range of views were expressed on the resolutions, in particular on cohabitation and same sex marriages. The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, spoke to the Conference acknowledging the “depth of feeling, pain and anxiety that there is” with a commitment to work across the Connexion with District Chairs to heal divisions.
Speakers called for unity going ahead irrespective of the decision. Other speakers spoke of the acceptance of diversity that younger Church members have for each other with younger speakers relating their own lived experience as Christians from the LGBTQI+ community. Another representative asked that the Church does not ostracise those who oppose the introduction of same-sex marriages in the Church, saying the great majority of these people are trying to be faithful to Scripture as they see it.
The Methodist Church included other denominations and Methodist Churches across the world in the process of listening and consultation, with written submissions from ecumenical partners to the ‘God In Love Unites Us‘ report and workshops with global Methodist partners.
Following the vote on the provisional resolutions the Revd Sonia Hicks said: “The debate today and our wider conversation has been conducted with grace and mutual respect. As we move forward together after this historic day for our Church, we must remember to continue to hold each other in prayer, and to support each other respecting our differences.”
Church Times news report: Methodists agree to same-sex weddings in church
…The Conference, meeting both online and in-person at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham this week, voted 254 to 46 in favour of a resolution by which “the Conference consents in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples on Methodist premises throughout the Connexion and by Methodist ministers, probationers or members in so far as the law of the relevant jurisdiction permits or requires and subject to compliance with such further requirements, if any, as that law imposes.”
This involved redrafting the Methodist marriage canon to replace the premise that marriage is between one man and one woman. The relevant standing order now states: “The Methodist Church believes that marriage is given by God to be a particular channel of God’s grace, and that it is in accord with God’s purposes when a marriage is a life-long union in body, mind and spirit of two people who freely enter it.
“Within the Methodist Church this is understood in two ways: that marriage can only be between a man and a woman; that marriage can be between any two people. The Methodist Church affirms both understandings and makes provision in its Standing Orders for them.”
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England has issued this Statement on the Methodist Conference Vote on Marriage Equality 30 June 2021
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England rejoices in and welcomes the news that the Methodist Conference has consented in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples on Methodist premises and by Methodist ministers. The resolution was passed by a very large majority (254 to 46) after a long and impressive debate marked by a generous and kind spirit from both those in favour and those opposing the motion.
This means that the Methodist Church of Great Britain, which covers all of Scotland, Wales and England, will become the largest UK denomination that fully accepts marriage equality and will welcome LGBTQIA+ couples to marry in their churches.
The decision was taken, after many years of discussion and debate, on the basis of the Report of the Marriage and Relationships Task Group 2019, God in Love Unites Us, which was discussed extensively at the 2019 Methodist Conference and commended for study and prayerful discussion throughout the Church through 2020.
The Campaign congratulates Dignity and Worth – our sister organisation in the Methodist Church – for their tireless work for this outcome.
We call upon the bishops of the Next Steps Group to ensure that proposals for marriage equality in the Church of England form part of their report in due course.
Updated 8 July 2021
The Observer reports this evening that the Bishop of Liverpool has said that the Church of England should recognise same-sex weddings.
Church of England should recognise same-sex weddings, says bishop
Paul Bayes, bishop of Liverpool, pushes for ‘gender-neutral marriage canon’ and church ceremonies
A senior bishop has said the Church of England should recognise marriage between people of the same sex and allow such ceremonies in church, a move that would break with centuries of Christian teaching.
Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, called for a “gender-neutral marriage canon” in a controversial and hard-hitting speech on Saturday, making him the most senior figure in the C of E to explicitly back a change in church law and teaching…
What do I want to see? I want to see a Church that is no longer institutionally racist. I want to see a Church where people with physical or mental or emotional disability are honoured and accommodated and learned from and loved, and whose love is received as a gift.
In the area of sexuality and relationships I want to see the road which runs through Living in Love and Faith come to a good destination. The LLF process has clarified my own thinking.
I want to see a gender-neutral marriage canon, such as they have in the Episcopal Church or in the Scottish Episcopal Church. And as a necessary but not sufficient first step I want to see conscientious freedom for the Church’s ministers and local leaders to honour, recognise and, yes indeed, to bless same-sex unions whether civil partnerships or civil marriages.
I want to see an abolition of the foolishness that sees the call to ordained ministry as a call to a state morally higher than that of the baptised, as though baptism called us to a lesser holiness. I want to see an end to LGBTQ+ people hiding who they are for fear of being exposed to conversion therapy or to being forbidden to minister in churches. I want to see an end to the inquisition of ordinands about their private lives.
On 6 July Bishop Bayes published the following on Twitter.
Some days ago I gave a speech to the MoSAIC Conference. I stand by the substantive points in that speech, but I also made some passing remarks which I greatly regret. I’ve asked for the published text to be amended to remove them. Here’s a statement of apology. Many thanks!
Follow the Twitter link to read the statement.26 Comments
The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce, set up last autumn to recommend changes to ensure greater racial equality in the Church of England, has issued an update on its work. The full text is here. The Taskforce aims to publish its final report on 22nd April 2021 – Stephen Lawrence Day.
More information on the group and its work is available here.2 Comments
A new coalition, named MOSAIC, which is an acronym for Movement Of Supporting Anglicans for An Inclusive Church, has been launched. The website is at https://mosaic-anglicans.org. The press release (copied in full below the fold) explains:
SENIOR CHURCH OF ENGLAND LEADERS UNITE TO CAMPAIGN FOR “A CHURCH FOR ALL ENGLAND”.
Leaders from across the full breadth of inclusive networks have united to create a “Movement of Supporting Anglicans for an Inclusive Church” that will campaign together for a more inclusive church.
The movement aims to have a presence in each diocese of the Church of England, where it will work with local clergy and laity on projects that promote inclusion for all those who are currently marginalised by the Church of England – whether that be due to race, ability, sexuality, gender or gender identity.
Launching just ahead of the February Synod, the co-chair of the initiative Revd Canon Tim Goode, a newly elected clergy member of the Archbishops’ Council said:
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring together such a broad coalition of leaders who represent the full range of marginalised groups within the Church of England. We stand far stronger together – for you cannot be a little bit inclusive!
…The Movement is keen to connect with anyone who is interested to get involved. More details can be found on their website www.mosaic-anglicans.org…
The Church Times has reported this: New coalition seeks greater ‘inclusive’ clout in Church of England dioceses.
A NEW coalition describing itself as a “movement of supporting Anglicans for an inclusive Church” — and to be know by the acronym Mosaic — is to bring together campaigns on issues of race, ability, sexuality, gender, and gender identity.
One of its two co-chairs, Canon Tim Goode, a newly elected member of the Archbishops’ Council, said that Mosaic represented “the full range of marginalised groups within the Church of England. We stand far stronger together — for you cannot be a little bit inclusive.”
The coalition draws together leaders from the Campaign for Equal Marriage, Disability and Jesus, Inclusive Church, Modern Church, One Body One Faith, and the Ozanne Foundation. It hopes to grow to include other organisations.
Each of these bodies will continue to function independently, but the coalition is an attempt to co-ordinate their efforts to eradicate discrimination from church statements, policies, appointments, and actions…
The article also contains a Q and A section, with information that is not to be found at present on the MOSAIC website.51 Comments
The Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives has brought together over 350 senior faith leaders from around the world to call for an end to violence and discrimination against LGBT people and for a global ban on conversion therapy.
They are holding a one day conference today, 16 December, which is available as a livestream from 0930 – 1630. This is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
The programme of the conference can be viewed here.
The Bishop of London has recorded this welcoming video.
This will be followed at 1730 by a Celebration at Westminster Abbey with both the Dean of Westminster and the Dean of St Paul’s.
They invite all people of faith to sign the declaration with them.
The full text of the press release is copied below the fold.
Women and the Church has published an introduction and guide to the Five Guiding Principles. The Guide and two supporting documents can be found here:
There is also an earlier document from the Diocese of Chelmsford which is recommended in the code of behaviour
There is a press release which explains the intention of these documents: WATCH Publish an introduction and guide to the Five Guiding Principles. This is copied below the fold. (more…)34 Comments