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 Guardian reports this today: Lesbian priests to lead church service on eve of Anglican summit.
LGBT+ campaigners will hold a church service led by two high-profile married lesbian priests on the eve of the Lambeth conference, a once-a-decade assembly of Anglican bishops from around the world that is expected to be dominated by conflicts over sexuality and marriage.
The move is likely to rile conservative bishops who maintain that homosexuality is a sin.
An “inclusive” eucharist at a church in Canterbury will be presided over by the Rt Rev Mary Glasspool, an assistant bishop in New York. The preacher will be the Rev Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, a daughter of Desmond Tutu, the veteran South African anti-apartheid campaigner.
The service is intended to send a strong message to up to 1,000 bishops from 165 countries who are due to gather at the University of Kent at the end of July for almost two weeks of prayer and discussion about issues facing the worldwide Anglican church…
The press release about this is copied below.
The Telegraph has now covered this too:
First married lesbian bishop to lead service ahead of global Anglican summit to protest ban on gay partners
Nic Tall is Election Campaign Coordinator for the IC and partners’ 2020 Synod Campaign. Inclusive Church has published this article by him: 2020 Synod Elections: Shaping the future of the Church of England.
Should same sex couples be able to marry in church? How can the church respond to the climate emergency? How do we equip the church for the challenges of mission and ministry in the 21st Century? Do you ever find yourself asking these questions? And do you ever wonder who in the church has the job of answering them?
In the Church of England the big questions of the day are debated by the General Synod. It can seem like a remote body, with little effect at parish level and no place for ordinary clergy and churchgoers, but that is a common misperception. Many significant changes in how local churches operate come from decisions in General Synod, and the policies of the national church are shaped and decided in Synod. Next year will see full elections for the next five year term of the General Synod, and whoever is elected will have a voice in how the church grapples with the big issues and shape its future.
Could you serve on General Synod? Maybe you know someone you could encourage to stand for election. The Church needs a diverse range of people on Synod, different ages, backgrounds and experience to represent the full breadth of the Church. Inclusive Church is leading a campaign to organise for the 2020 elections, working in partnership with other inclusive organisations across the life of the church. We have just launched our main campaign leaflet, saying what will be happening and how you can be involved. Please download it here, and share it far and wide among people you know in the church who have inclusive values…
The campaign leaflet, Planning for the 2020 Elections to the General Synod, contains more detailed information:
Who is organising the Inclusive Synod Campaign?
This campaign is being organised by a coalition of key organisations from across the full breadth of traditions in the Church of England – evangelical, catholic, liberal. We represent the broad mainstream of the Church, those who want our national Church to be for everyone, regardless of gender, age, disability, tradition, race, socio-economic background or sexuality. Members include Inclusive Church, WATCH, One Body One Faith, Ozanne Foundation, Affirming Catholicism, Accepting Evangelicals, Modern Church, the Society of Catholic Priests, the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the C of E, the Progressive Christianity Network and Thinking Anglicans. We are the only campaign for Synod organising across the whole of the Church…
OneBodyOneFaith published this on 5 June:
We’re delighted that this film, funded by our supporters and members and featuring John Bell and Nick Bundock, has now been completed and can be viewed on our YouTube channel. As you’ll probably recall, the film arose out of John hearing about Nick’s church’s response to Lizzie Lowe’s death, and the films are a conversation between the two of them, with ideas for reflection by church groups.
Please share the films and encourage others to do so too; we want them to reach the widest possible audience because we believe they have the potential to help people move on in their journey of understanding, and to make real change. If you need more resources for study and reflection, check out some of the books in our online shop – or get in touch and we can help you identify people to talk to, speakers and other sources of support, reflecting your particular context.
Today is Lizzie’s 18th birthday. Her parents Kevin and Hilary appear briefly in the film. Notwithstanding the remarkable transformation of their church following her death, would still give anything to have their daughter back. Please remember them, and Lizzie’s siblings and many friends, today.
And then consider this question: So – how’s the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ coming along then?5 Comments
The lecture title is: Faith and LGBT: Building Bridges in a Polarised World.
The lecture will be in Leicester Cathedral on the evening of 25 July, and will follow a short AGM. The proceedings begin at 6.45 p.m.
Full details and booking (needed for catering purposes) can be found here.
Everyone is invited.0 Comments
We are now publishing the text of one of the presentations that was given. Fiona MacMillan is a Trustee of Inclusive Church and Chair of the Disability Advisory Group at St Martin in the Fields.
Her talk can be downloaded from this link.
The booklet which celebrates five years of jointly sponsored conferences on disability & church can be downloaded from here.
Information on the earlier conferences is available here.
Meeting pods are essentially a little room within a room. They are primarily used for meetings, hence the name, but can be used for all kinds of purposes. These meeting pods come in all shapes and sizes to meet different needs. Pods can be open like the office itself or closed off for privacy and confidentiality. Closed pods are more beneficial because of their natural soundproofing. Open pods still have some basic level of soundproofing, so people can still hold private conversations. meeting pods2 Comments
Calling from the Edge celebrates the first 5 years of conferences on Disability & Church, a partnership between St Martin in the Fields and Inclusive Church. This lunchtime event alongside General Synod will share the experience and ideas and be of interest to all interested in disability, social justice or inclusion.
Friday 9 February 1.00 pm to 2.15 pm
Aldersgate Suite, Central Hall Westminster
Chair: The Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams, chair of Inclusive Church
Speakers include: Emily Richardson, Ann Memmott, Fiona McMillan, and Revd Tim Goode.
Registration by email to email@example.com
Access information: step-free (lift) access, hearing loop, autism friendlier
“Centred on lived experience, underpinned by robust theology, disabled people are gathering to resource each other and the Church”3 Comments
From the Inclusive Church website
New National Coordinator Appointed
The trustees of Inclusive Church are pleased to announce that Ruth Wilde will be the next National Coordinator.
Ruth Wilde comes to us from the Student Christian Movement, where she has been the Faith in Action Project Worker since 2015. Her job at SCM involves running workshops, events and campaigns for students and student groups all over the country.
Ruth is a Quaker and attends Selly Oak Quaker Meeting in Birmingham, but she also regularly attends an ecumenical Peacemeal house group, which she set up with friends. She is an associate tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, down the road from where she lives. She has also recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Theology at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham and is hoping to do an MA in the same subject next year.
Ruth has taken part in all manner of social justice activities, including Citizens UK and Christian Peacemaker Teams. She has also been involved in LGBT+ campaigning in the Church of England as a trustee with Changing Attitude (now part of OneBodyOneFaith).
In her spare time, she likes playing the piano, cuddling her cat Daisy, and walking in the countryside with her wife Ellie. She can also sometimes be spotted at Derby County football matches with her Dad!
Speaking about her appointment, Ruth says:
“I am really excited to start the job with Inclusive Church. I am thrilled to have been appointed and look forward to this new challenge. It will be hard to fill Bob’s shoes, as he has done such an incredible job in his seven years as IC National Coordinator- it is the beginning of a new era! I hope that I can be attentive to the supporters and members of Inclusive Church and that we can move forward in a positive direction together.”
Ruth takes up her post on January 1st 2018.8 Comments
From the Inclusive Church website:
Could you implement the strategy of Inclusive Church and work with the Trustees to co-ordinate the work of Inclusive Church to ensure that the tradition of inclusion and diversity is celebrated and maintained?
Inclusive Church seeks a National Co-ordinator to succeed the Rev’d Bob Callaghan following his retirement at the end of 2017.
Inclusive Church is an educational charity promoting an inclusive interpretation of the Gospel, and commending the values of social justice. It reaches across a number of Christian denominations working with churches to encourage them to explore ways in which they become more inclusive. It is concerned with issues of disability, ethnicity, gender, mental health, poverty and sexuality. Inclusive Church is not a campaigning organisation.
This post is half-time (17.5 hours per week) and requires flexibility as no two weeks are the same. Remuneration is £17,955 (pro rata FTE £35,910) plus pension arrangements. Full expenses are paid.
The post requires travel throughout England, therefore the post-holder must have use of a car and a full driving licence.
An information pack and details about how to apply is available at www.inclusive-church.org/jobs.
Closing date for receipt of applications for the post is 12 noon on 30 October. Interviews will be held in central London on 11 November.
There is an occupational requirement that the post holder is a practicing Christian. The position is subject to an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
The Board of Trustees is seeking to recruit additional voluntary Trustees and would be pleased to hear from you, especially if you have lived experience in the fields of ethnicity ,mental health or poverty. For information about this please contact the Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org Comments
The fifth annual Inclusive Church lecture was delivered last Thursday at St Paul’s Cathedral London by the Dean of St Paul’s Dr David Ison.
The text of the lecture is available here.
There is also a video which you can watch from this link.
Details of previous lectures are available here.
Next year, the sixth lecture will take place on Wednesday 25th July 2018 at Leicester Cathedral.
The lecturer will be Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall.
Free tickets will be available nearer the date.
This letter has been sent to all LGCM, Changing Attitude and Inclusive Church supporters:
Like very many people, we were shocked and dismayed at the report published last week by a working party of the House of Bishops of the Church of England. You can read the report here. Despite a wish to create “maximal freedom” for LGBTI+ people, and a desire to have a “change of tone” in the way we are spoken about and to, there was essentially a recommendation of no change at all in the official position of the Church of England.
For too many of our members, who had taken part in all good faith in the Shared Conversations, this was a very significant betrayal of trust. LGCM is also concerned that the established church, in which the country as a whole has a stake, is proposing to retain unchanged a theology and pastoral practice and discipline that is significantly out of kilter with the nation’s understanding of equality and justice in matters of sexuality and gender. This is an issue which affects all those of us who believe our sexuality to be a gift from God. The Church of England seeks to engage with all the communities of England, and yet it does so in a way which diminishes the gospel message that God’s love is for everyone, without exception. We are all alike impeded in our mission of conveying the message that God’s love is for everyone, regardless of who they are, or who they love.
The Report is coming to General Synod on 15th February. There is to be a debate, at the end of which the Synod will be asked to “take note” of the Report. We are asking all members of General Synod not to take note. In other words, to vote against the motion.
LGCM is clear about its convictions and its purpose. The Statement of Conviction says:
It is the conviction of the members of the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement that human sexuality in all its richness is a gift of God gladly to be accepted, enjoyed and honoured as a way of both expressing and growing in love, in accordance with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is their conviction that it is entirely compatible with the Christian faith not only to love another person of the same sex but also to express that love fully in a personal sexual relationship.
We are looking for the bishops of the Church of England to start to move in the direction of our convictions, and to acknowledge those as a permissible and honourable position to hold if you are an Anglican.
We ask ALL OUR MEMBERS AND ALL CHANGING ATTITUDE SUPPORTERS TO WRITE A PERSONAL LETTER TO GENERAL SYNOD REPRESENTATIVES to arrive before 13th February. It does not matter if you are not personally a member of the Church of England – as it is the Established Church you have an interest in their attitudes and policies and every right to express your view to its governing body. Share with them the memorandum attached [below the fold], and your hope that they will vote against taking note of it. Explain to them which parish or church you belong to and any office or role you play in that church (if you do). Tell them why this matters to you and ask them to vote against taking note. A personal letter will make much more impact than a brief email or text. Please also COPY YOUR LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE IN WHICH YOU LIVE. Pick up your pens and play your part in this vital campaign. Addresses of all Synod Members are here. If you would like to write but need help in identifying who are the right people to write to please contact us at email@example.com and we will direct you to the correct people. We are looking for a substantial vote against this dangerous and inadequate report.
Tracey Byrne, CEO, LGCM
Jeremy Pemberton, Chair of the Board, LGCM
From the Inclusive Church website:
The Annual Inclusive Church lecture was inaugurated in 2013, marking the 10th anniversary of the founding of Inclusive Church.
The lecture is part of Inclusive Church’s commitment to articulate a coherent gospel theology of inclusion.
The inaugural lecture entitled ‘On Being Together: the Possibility of Church’ was given by Martyn Percy at Southwark Cathedral, with 200 guests.
Some earlier parts of this paper were initially explored in Anglicanism: Confidence, Commitment and Communion (Ashgate, 2013), Thirty-Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith (SCM-Canterbury, 2013), a lecture given at St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand , April 2013…
The full text of the lecture can be downloaded as a PDF file, from here.2 Comments
If you were as angry and disillusioned as were many of us with the Church of England Response to the Government Consultation on Same Sex Marriage please join this campaign by personally disowning the content of the Response.
Pick up a pen.
Write a plain card/ post card/ short note or email to your Diocesan Bishop/ One of the Archbishops / Your General Synod Representatives/ Anyone you know well who represent the “hierarchy of the C of E”
And say simply:
NOT IN MY NAME
What on earth is happening to the Church of England , the Church to which I belong?
Why were amendments added to the draft legislation regarding women Bishops when 42 out of the 44 Dioceses had voted for the unamended proposals? Why was the careful work of so many years overturned in a few days? In whose name? These new amendments are NOT IN MY NAME
And who wrote the so called “Church of England” Government Equalities Office Consultation on Equal Civil Marriage Response? It is NOT IN MY NAME and I dissociate myself from the out of date, intolerant views contained therein. The Government at least consulted gay and lesbian people about their hopes for the future of their relationships , which is more than the Church of England ever does. In this the Government shows a democratic spirit which is the spirit of the times, but which seems to be lost altogether from the present Church of England hierarchy which appears to act as an increasingly clumsy, backward looking “Magisterium” in matters of the utmost human sensitivity and seriousness. In whose name does it act like this?
NOT IN MY NAME.
Yours in Christ
Baptised and Confirmed Member of the Church of England/ Regularly worshipping member of the Church of England
This task is not meant to be onerous but to register with the Bishops and other members of the hierarchy our distrust and anger over recent moves and statements made by them as if they carry the authority of the whole church.
If you are very busy just write one card or contact one Bishop.
If you are less busy please write to as many hierarchs as you can.
Put anything you like on the card but include the words NOT IN MY NAME so that they get the message. The more humorous and distinctive the card the better, without of course being rude, or simple plain little while card will do.
Please try to get friends/ members of your groups/ other congregation members to do the same.
Flood them………..we have to show we care!
See also the online petition Church of England? Not in our name60 Comments
The papers delivered at the recent Inclusive Church conference: BeAttitude are now available for all to read as PDF files. Other material from the conference can also be found at the link above.
Giles Goddard Tradition and the Gospel
Adrian Thatcher Gender and the Gospel
Hilary Cotton Episcopacy and the Gospel
Andrew Nunn Worship and the Gospel3 Comments
Changing Attitude Ireland press release
Anglican priest, Canon Giles Goddard – chair of Inclusive Church England – said in a sermon today (Sunday 30 January) in Trinity College Dublin:
“You may have heard that a Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death in his home in Uganda. His funeral was on Friday. At his funeral, the officiant – who was an Anglican lay reader – ranted against homosexuality. And at the end of the service the villagers refused to bury his coffin. I think it’s important to be clear about this; homophobia kills and any church that preaches intolerance is contributing to the very real and deadly consequences of homophobia.”
He went on to say that:
“Two things need to happen to ensure the continued health of the Anglican Communion. First, that we need to be clear about the implications of the refusal by some conservative provinces to engage with Communion processes; this Primates Meeting and the Anglican Covenant. The implication is that the processes set in place in an attempt to placate them – the moratoria– are to all intents and purposes defunct, and should be quietly forgotten. Which is not surprising, because they were legalistic responses to a legalistic approach to the Gospel.
Secondly, having done that we need to find a way out of the absurd stalemate we are in over human sexuality. We need as a Communion to find a way to recognise that there are a great many Anglican and Episcopalian Christians whose faith and life, and the faith and life of those around them, is deeply enriched by their same-sex relationships. That these relationships are undoubtedly blessed and hallowed in the sight of God. A way which recognises differences of opinion; which does not force those who disagree to abandon their beliefs; but which recognises and celebrates the ways in which the love of Jesus is expressed in the world. Here we are in Ireland, close to a living example of what’s possible in extremely complicated issues with flexibility and care. I do not believe that something similar isn’t possible within the Anglican Communion. It’s time to find that way.”
The full text of this sermon can be found at this page.7 Comments
Press Release from Modern Church and Inclusive Church
Thursday 28 October 2010
Church Groups Unite Against Anglican Covenant
Two major Church of England groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church (formerly MCU) have joined together to campaign against the proposed Anglican Covenant.
In November the Church of England’s General Synod will be asked to approve the Anglican Covenant. Many Synod members do not realise it, but it could be the biggest change to the Church since the Reformation.
Each of the 38 Provinces in the Anglican Communion is being asked to sign it. By signing, it undertakes not to introduce any new development if another Anglican province anywhere in the world opposes it – unless granted prior permission from a new international body, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.
The campaign opens tomorrow Friday, when full-page advertisements appear in both the Church of England Newspaper and the Church Times. It will continue during the weeks leading up to the General Synod debate scheduled for Wednesday 24 November, and if the draft is not rejected, but referred to the dioceses, it will continue throughout 2011.
The full text of the Church Times advert is available as a PDF file here.
Another milestone passed
Inclusive Church gives thanks that General Synod agreed the draft legislation for the consecration of women as bishops by an overwhelming majority. The process in Synod over the weekend was thoughtful, respectful and gracious.
“Another milestone has been passed” said Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church. “The Church of England is gradually reaching the point when all are able to live out their vocation as bishops, clergy or laity. As a church we can now move forward after forty years of discussion.”
“This is good news for the whole church and we are delighted,” said the Rev’d Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH and a member of IC’s Executive Committee. “Synod’s decision gives the church a powerful mandate to move forward enthusiastically; welcoming the ministry of women at all levels whilst making space for those who are opposed to stay within our body.”
The legislation will now be discussed in Dioceses before its final return to Synod in about 18 months time. The provision for those opposed represents a compromise for all sides. We hope that over the coming months and as the Code of Practice is agreed, many of those who have questioned the provision will find that it does in fact meet their needs.
We were alarmed however that the adversarial nature of the debate means that there seems to be very little trust between the two sides on this issue. There are strong partnerships on both sides, but there’s an urgent need to build friendship across boundaries. Inclusive Church is committed to trying to make this happen.
We hope that in the coming months the various groups and organisations involved can meet and talk, so that we can develop bonds of love in what is likely to continue to be a difficult process. Our prayer is that when final approval comes, it can be something the Church of England welcomes unequivocally.
Inclusive Church has issued this open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
St John’s Vicarage
London SE1 8UF
10th June 2010
We are writing to express our grave concern about the contents of your Pentecost letter and its consequences applied with such speed by the Anglican Communion Office.
Your letter opens with a reminder of the joy of Pentecost, when “we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world”. But the result of your proposals – to summarily remove from those Communion bodies to which you directly appoint, those provinces which are in your view in breach of the moratoria – is a diminishing of the diversity of the Anglican Communion and a silencing of the different languages in which we are called to speak.
Our concerns are three-fold.
First, it is clear from the actions of the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion that the application of the sanctions is one-sided and disproportionate. The Anglican Church of North America may now provide cover for the Bishops previously ordained by Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya but these provinces remain committed to them and the actions which made the emergence of ACNA possible, actions carried out in direct violation of the moratorium that you asked for. It would be farcical to suggest they are no longer breaking the moratoria just because they have been successful in generating a breakaway body to provide local cover for the result of their acts. The Secretary-General is “seeking clarification” regarding the Southern Cone and Canada. However, without consultation, he has proceeded in removing members of The Episcopal Church from Communion bodies. This kind of punitive exclusion will do nothing to promote the “path of mutual respect and thankfulness that will hold us in union and help us grow in that truth.”
Second, by proposing these actions you are not strengthening but diminishing the distinctiveness and the contribution of the Anglican voice to our ecumenical dialogue. It is clear that all the major churches are engaged in the struggle to acknowledge and include LGBT Christians. The Anglican Communion has been more open than most about its struggle, and has earned the respect of many of our partners in this. By excluding those provinces which have been able, despite deep controversy and through profound study and prayer, to include both those who welcome LGBT Christians and those who do not, you are empowering the Anglican Communion to speak with a voice which does not reflect its truth; it is, in short, inauthentic. Further, it fails to acknowledge the terrible persecution which is experienced by LGBT Christians, and those who uphold human rights as reflecting crucial Gospel values, in many of those provinces which are at the forefront of opposition to TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. Your previous statements opposing homophobia and seeking generosity from (among others) the Church of Uganda are undermined by these actions.
Third, the actions proposed and taken appear to pre-empt the consequences of the draft Covenant. You reiterate that “the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control”. And yet, by these sanctions you are prefiguring the life of the Covenant by already excluding from Anglican dialogue those who do not have majority support – creating, by default, track 2 churches. It is increasingly clear, as discussions about the Covenant continue, that whatever its original intentions it is already becoming an instrument of control, an additional “instrument of unity” which will achieve precisely the opposite.
By excluding TEC and possibly the ACoC in this way, the voices are also silenced of the thousands of members of the Church of England for whom the life of TEC and the ACoC is a source of joy and thanksgiving – for whom the full inclusion of LGBT Christians within our parishes is already a reality, even though the structures and senior hierarchy of the Church of England are unable to acknowledge this reality.
You stress the urgency of mission. The result of these actions is further to undermine the mission of the Church of England, and to cause despair amongst those who are trying to enable all to understand the love of God. Supporters of Inclusive Church have spoken with you on a number of occasions about the vital urgency of speaking generously about the breadth of Christian experience. Unless we do, we will be unable to re-engage with the communities we seek to serve in this country and who are bemused by the Church of England’s continuing rejection of LGBT Christians.
The period of engagement for which you call will not be served by putting in place further exclusionary structures. It is only the conservative extreme of the Anglican Communion which appears to support – indeed, to encourage – further division. We are profoundly supportive of the sort of frank and open conversations for which you too hope. Therefore, a question – how do you anticipate these conversations being fruitful when decisions have already been taken which further reduce the status of LGBT Christians and those who welcome them?
Canon Giles Goddard
Inclusive Church has today issued this Open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
St John’s Vicarage
London SE1 8UF
An open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States
815 Second Avenue
09 June 2010
Dear Bishop Katharine,
We rejoice that in your Pentecost Letter the Episcopal Church has reaffirmed its strong affirmation of gay and lesbian people as part of God’s good creation and your continued commitment to recognising, led by the Spirit, that God is calling and fitting gay and lesbian people to be ordained leaders of the Church.
We regret that the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested in his letter to the Anglican Communion that The Episcopal Church should not be a participant in Ecumenical Dialogue on behalf of the Communion and should serve only as consultants on IASCUFO. The Archbishop may experience ecumenical partners saying they “need to know who it is they are talking to” but our experience is of ecumenical partners saying we are carrying forward this difficult discernment process for the whole church, that they have similar or more contentious issues to deal with themselves, and that they are appreciative of the open way we are facing this issue.
We do not support the Archbishop’s position that only those in agreement with the majority view can be participants as Anglicans in ecumenical dialogue or for that matter any other representative body of the Anglican Communion. Indeed, the Episcopal Church’s diligence in undertaking “deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research” with gay and lesbian people, as resolved at the 1978 Lambeth Conference, and in upholding their human rights, as emphasised at the 1988 Lambeth Conference, has been in marked contrast to the position of other provinces whose status as representative participants is unchallenged. We ask you to have the courage, commitment and humility to “remain at the table” not just until you are asked to leave but indeed until the table is removed from you. We recognise this is asking you to be in an uncomfortable place but the self-denial being asked of you is not for a gracious withdrawal but a silencing of voices that need to be heard.
The 1979 Anglican Consultative Council Resolution on Human Rights specifically called on member churches “to rigorously assess their own structures, attitudes and modes of working to ensure the promotion of human rights within them, and to seek to make the church truly an image of God’s just Kingdom and witness in today’s world”. In 1990 the ACC resolution on Christian Spirituality urged “every Diocese in our Communion to consider how through its structures it may encourage its members to see that a true Christian spirituality involves a concern for God’s justice in the world, particularly in its own community”. We recognise that developments in the life of the Episcopal Church have been in line with and, in part, a response to this call.
In 2005 The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada were asked to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council. Inclusive Church appealed to you not to accede to this request. We argued that The Anglican Consultative Council, consisting of Bishops, Clergy and Laity is currently the most representative body in the Anglican Communion; were you to withdraw your participation it would no longer be a fully representative body. It is our belief that your actions, taken in response to the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian people and the justice of their claim to full participation in the life of the church, do not justify the breaking of “the bonds of communion” or any moves to exclude you from the conciliar life of the Communion. On the contrary it means you bring to the Anglican Consultative Council experience and counsel that would otherwise be absent and without which the Anglican Communion can not progress to a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding sexuality or ever achieve reconciliation.
We hold to that view still today and ask that you resist this process of excluding those Provinces of the Communion most committed to the visible inclusion of all Anglicans in the life of the Church. This process and the proposed Anglican Covenant are not building unity, they are turning disagreement into institutionalised disunity – even inventing mechanisms of exclusion to facilitate the process.
To agree to a voluntary self exclusion would not be to agree to a self- denying ordinance for the good of the whole. Gay Anglicans are part of the Anglican Communion in every province. Some are facing persecution by their own churches because of their courageous witness. By remaining at the table, the Episcopal Church has the opportunity to remind those who serve on representative bodies of their existence and to raise their voice. We ask that you resist this misguided process that is formally excluding those who speak for people the Communion should urgently be seeking to include.
Canon Giles Goddard
Chair, Inclusive Church
11th February 2010
Inclusive Church welcomes the vote by the Church of England’s General Synod to extend pension rights beyond the legal minimum for civil partners.
The motion was carried by a clear majority in the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity. The debate was characterised by a desire to show that the church can act justly and generously in support of those in civil partnerships.
Revd. Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church said:
“This vote underlines Archbishop’s Rowan Williams’ earlier comments and clearly demonstrates that the Church of England is opposed to all forms of homophobia. I hope this will be the beginning of a new openness towards LGBT people in the church.”
Revd Mark Bratton, proposer of the motion said:
“This unexpected result will encourage those who have given their lives to supporting those in ministry that the church values their commitment and sacrifice.”
“That this Synod request the Archbishops’ Council and the Church of England Pensions Board to bring forward changes to the rules governing the clergy pension scheme in order to go beyond the requirements of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and provide pension benefits to be paid to the surviving civil partners of deceased clergy on the same basis as they are currently paid to surviving spouses.”
More information contact:
Revd Canon Giles Goddard 07762 373 674
Revd Mark Bratton 0754 060 4225