Thinking Anglicans

CEEC responds to LLF proposals from the bishops

CEEC formally responds to House of Bishops’ proposals and subsequent public communications

The Church of England Evangelical Council has published its formal response to the House of Bishops’ proposals and subsequent public communications. The full text of the response can be found at the link above, and is copied below the fold.

CEEC calls for action and offers the Church of England a better way forward

CEEC is grieved and dismayed by the House of Bishops’ response to Living in Love & Faith, and subsequent public communications, believing them to be contrary to the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England. If pursued, we believe these proposals will create further division and broken fellowship within the Church of England and a greater tearing of the fabric of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

We wish to alert the House of Bishops to the depth, breadth and strength of opposition to their proposals among members of CEEC, which represents lay and ordained, charismatic and conservative and open, egalitarian and complementarian evangelicals. The Council is drawn from numerous networks including Diocesan Evangelical Fellowships, EGGS, The Junia Network, ReNew, New Wine, Living Out, Latimer Trust, JAEC, Fulcrum, Fellowship of Word and Spirit, Crosslinks, CPAS, Count Everyone In, CMS, Christianity Explored, Church Society and evangelical College Principals.

Where CEEC stands

CEEC joyfully affirms its conviction that every person is made in the image of God and loved equally by Him. We delight in the current doctrine of the Church of England with regards to singleness, sex and marriage and believe them to be good for the flourishing of every individual. We believe God’s good design in these areas to be part of the church’s witness to a society exploring what it means to be human.

We welcome the communique of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) and the reminder from Archbishop Justin Badi that the church is called to be ‘marked by its loyalty to God and the plain teaching of holy scripture – whatever the cultural winds of the day’.

CEEC repents of those times when we have failed to offer a Christ-like welcome to those who identify as LGBTQIA including those who are gay but have chosen to live a celibate life in keeping with biblical teaching.

Why CEEC rejects the House of Bishops proposals

We believe that the House of Bishops’ proposals and subsequent public communications are erroneous for a number of reasons, including:

  • Decoupling sex from its place in marriage between one man and one woman
  • Failing to explain and defend why they have departed from previous statements and decisions of the House of Bishops and the General Synod
  • Failing to offer a theological account of their claims regarding the distinction between civil marriage and holy matrimony, and the nature of blessing
  • Blatantly disregarding the convictions of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion and other major global Christian denominations
  • Failing to critique the modern sense of self and individualism and the sexualisation of our society, which is leaving our children and young people confused and vulnerable
  • Failing to provide a vision of the holy life in following Jesus as Lord.

We believe that the responsibility of the Church of England is to serve the nation by proclaiming the gospel, not by compromising with prevailing culture. We are convinced that these proposals will undermine and damage the mission and discipleship of our churches, especially among young people.

Furthermore, CEEC believes it is inappropriate for the General Synod to consider the House of Bishops’ proposals before revised pastoral guidance has been issued, which could redefine the discipline and teaching of the Church of England.

What CEEC calls for

CEEC calls on evangelical clergy, wardens, PCCs, and lay people across the country to communicate urgently their profound concerns about the proposals to their bishops and General Synod representatives ahead of the forthcoming General Synod and to continue in prayer for our church.

CEEC also calls on evangelicals to prepare to take wide scale and far reaching action in order to respond to the new situation created should these proposals be pursued. At its annual meeting this week, the Council agreed that CEEC will provide guidance as to what this action could involve, including with respect to relationships with bishops and engagement with dioceses and deaneries. CEEC will be supporting churches and clergy who feel vulnerable in the light of the House of Bishops proposals.

CEEC urges the House of Bishops to reconsider the wisdom of their current proposals and withdraw them.

CEEC’s proposal for a better way forward

We remain committed to the highest degree of unity possible within the truth and doctrine of the Church of England.  However, we believe that the current proposals will prevent us from walking together and promote disunity, even schism.

It is clear that the strength of feeling amongst parties with differing convictions indicates that we have to find a better way forward. In the event of the current proposals being pursued, CEEC will continue to advocate a settlement, without theological compromise, based on a permanent structural rearrangement resulting in visible differentiation.

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Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

Sounds like bullying threats to me. A shameful response.

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

I thought you wanted those who oppose gay marriage to go away?

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

CEEC: “We delight in the current doctrine of the Church of England with regards to singleness, sex and marriage and believe them to be good for the flourishing of every individual.” They can say that, but then they clearly have not listened to gay and lesbian Christians themselves. CEEC just wants to impose its dogma on people whose life experience and reality witnesses to a very different view of the current doctrine. CEEC says that sex should only happen “in marriage between one man and one woman”. Sorry, but if gay and lesbian people have to stay celibate/chaste all their lives, countless… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

C.E.E.C says this: “CEEC repents of those times when we have failed to offer a Christ-like welcome to those who identify as LGBTQIA including those who are gay but have chosen to live a celibate life in keeping with biblical teaching.” Forgive me for asking folks, but where does Gospel teaching forbid two males living together is love and faithfulness? Certainly not in the biblical account of David and Jonathan, whose mutual love, David describes as superior to that of a man for a woman. May I suggest that C.E.E.C.’s spokesperson here may know nothing of the common good that… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

What struck me most clearly in that comment was ‘we repent of those times when we have failed to offer a Christ – like welcome” – and then carry on doing the self same thing! As a personal aside, I endured having to sacrifice my own sexual desires for some 25 years because of the conditioning they advocate – I’m straight, by the way – and, believe me, it is not far short of utter misery, and emotionally damaging. It is made even harder to cope with in a church culture which idolises marriage and, worse, then seeks to portray… Read more »

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

Refreshingly unambiguous.

You can’t both affirm and oppose gay relationships. The bishops had two doorways in front of them. One marked “affirm gay relationships”, the other marked “reject gay relationships”. The bishops have walked very hard into the doorframe which separates the two doorways, whilst claiming to have walked through both.

Colin Pengelly
Colin Pengelly
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

An interesting observation. If the bishops were following Jesus in their deliberations they would know the door through which Jesus passed and follow him. That’s affirmation to me.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

So, once again, evangelicals are upset and want a settlement — with no compromises. I am tired of evangelicals wanting to stay in an organization such as the CofE — as long as people do things their way. I am tired of evangelicals refusing to see GLBT people as fellow Christians, but only as sinners. I am tired of attitudes such as “love the sinner, hate the sin” being only condescendingly and self-righteously used (“aren’t we special for being nice to such awful sinners?”) against GLBT people, and is usually followed up by punitive action. In I may use a… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 year ago

Peter Gross. Please. You are not describing me or many like me. I am an evangelical who has supported and worked for the full inclusion and welcome of LGBTQ folk for many years. Evangelicalism in the CofE is broad and pluralist tradition. Your anger here is against the, now very conservative, coordinating council within the evangelical tradition in the CofE. They remain a strong and influential presence and are fiercely well organised. But they are not representative of the whole – or even those within their churches.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

But if the CEEC is the loudest voice and, indeed, sometimes the only voice speaking for the evangelical wing of the CoE, then that will be the public image of that wing. Why not create a more representative organization for what you claim is the larger, more liberal, group of evangelicals?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Well for what it is worth I do not think what is loudest is necessarily the most persuasive. It may actually work the other way. I could believe that to be the situation. And the CEEC is very far from the only voice in the evangelical world right now. In a situation where there is a widespread perception (including among conservative friends) that there is a need to move forward is compelling , ‘no change’ is hardly a serious option on the table.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

“And the CEEC is very far from the only voice in the evangelical world right now,,,” But are these other voices organized and speaking as one, the way the CEEC is? As a former journalist, I can tell you that reporters and editors seek out those who lead groups and speak for them. (It’s one of the reasons the “Occupy Wall Street” movement failed–they kept telling the media they had no leaders and no spokespeople.) When the media want to report on what evangelicals want and say, they naturally gravitate to the people who have already contacted them and are… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Pat. ‘Are these voices speaking as one’? No. But who is on this one? That is not the kind of church we are. Does that matter? I found Gerry Lynch’s piece in the current Church Times really helpful (27 Jan). He is not alone in discerning an important pragmatism at work. It includes this perceptive comment. “In the longer term, LLF’s real impact may not be through same-sex couples’ getting their marriages blessed in mainstream central-to-Catholic parishes that have long been as affirming of same-sex couples as policy allowed them to be. It might, instead, be at the Evangelical end… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

As you’ll know, I’ve consistently defended evangelicals from ill-founded criticisms on here, and admire much about evangelical practice and worship. So when I say that, with notable exceptions such as yourself, these attitudes appear to exist across the evangelical spectrum, the observation comes from someone who wishes evangelicals well and enjoys their company.

The best way to counter this perception? Leading open evangelicals to unite and speak out. To your great credit you have, but there’s so many more who could be taking the stand with you.

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

This week attended the funeral of one half of a gay couple. Deep in rural Suffolk. Both very involved in church and village and clearly loved. Church full of flowers arranged by local women and so full that service had to be relayed to village hall. Clearly he who died very much loved valued and accepted by the community. This is where theology is being LIVED and DONE – not in arcane disputes about words written centuries ago.

Cynthia
Cynthia
1 year ago

“…without theological compromise, based on a permanent structural rearrangement resulting in visible differentiation.”

These poor souls.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Cynthia
1 year ago

“Visible differentiation”?
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are….”

Father David
Father David
1 year ago

As Andrew Selous, the Second Church Estates Commission said in the House of Commons, the Bishops proposals seem to have upset everyone in the Church of England!
We now have a new mantra “Not far enough for some, too far for others”

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 year ago

Great news! If the evangelical reaction is to result in “visible differentiation” it will be easier for the real Church of England to get on with its job of serving the whole nation, whilst biblical fundamentalists can go off into their own pious corner wallowing in their extraordinary homophobia.

Ronnie Smith
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

For the recalcitrant Con/evos, the best form of ‘visible differentiation’ might be for the dissidents at CEEC to depart to the Global South, where they can whinge as much as they like. But, wait on. It won’t be long before they find something wrong with them, too.
And all because of us. We’re not moving (I hope).

Last edited 1 year ago by Ronnie Smith
James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Ronnie Smith
1 year ago

I would hope that alternative oversight could be provided within the CoE, as it has with the surreally-named “flying bishops,” but if fellowship is truly so impaired that oversight from outwith England is the only path forward, so be it, it’s been offered.

Charles Read
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Sorry to be picky but we don’t provide alternative episcopal oversight. We provide extended episcopal oversight – though I grant that many who avail themselves of it behave as if it were alternative…

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

No worries, thanks for highlighting an important distinction. 🙂

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

Predictably male dominated and I think only one female and ordained member.

John Darch
John Darch
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 year ago

Heavily weighted in favour of conservative evangelicals, so their response is hardly surprising. What does surprise me is that an independent – some would say schismatic – body like AMiE has representation. Why is this?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
1 year ago

CEEC was first created by John Stott in 1960 for evangelical Anglicans who were then emerging out of a long period as an isolated and rather despised minority within the CofE. (Something of that exile experience remains in our psychological DNA and surfaces under pressure!). Similar groups exist within the other traditions of the CofE of course. Stott had a very particular concern. ‘It is a tragic thing…that Evangelicals have a very poor image in the Church as a whole. We have acquired a reputation for narrow partisanship and obstructionism… We need to repent and to change.’ It was at this time that evangelicals… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

“But it is hard to imagine what kind of leadership CEEC offers at this particular time in the church’s life, when they only seem to know where the brakes are.”

Thank you for encapsulating in a neat sound bite something I was struggling to articulate.

Alison
Alison
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Something I often find on David’s writing!

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

There is a verse not often quoted in this context:- “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23. For modern, legal, stable, loving same sex marriages to be against the law [of Moses] then CEEC and their ilk have to show that those relationships aren’t fruit of the Spirit. I think many of us have been on personal spiritual journeys and eventually encountered an actual same sex marriage we simply could no longer see as anything other than the fruit of the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

“I think the hope of many was that Living in Love and Faith would take everyone on the journey to that revelation.” But seriously Kate, that was never going to happen. The Church is so deeply divided, with such strong convictions on both sides, that the outcome was only ever going to be: 1.Continue to ban gay and lesbian people marrying in church. 2.Attempt to negotiate a ‘permissive’ diversity based on conscience. Option 1 is basically the domination of everyone else by the ‘conservatives’ in Synod and the House of Bishops. Blessings that are not framed as wedding services, and… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

I think there are many here who have changed their minds about same sex marriage: I am one of them (before LLF). There are also bishops who have made the same transition – notably the Bishop of Oxford. I don’t think it is unreasonable to have hoped that LLF would change most minds and to be sad that it hasn’t. Diversity just means that some gay couples get lucky: others will live in areas where they are not supported, and remember that special permission is required to marry outside of a couple’s parish(es). It’s not something we should want. Yes,… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

To be fair, the ‘conservative’ evangelicals who oppose gay sex and marriage have a theological basis for their position (not one that I agree with, but their position is not baseless). Also, at least they have the resolve to come out fighting for what they believe, and to take action. Contrast the ‘Inclusive Church’ organisation (and some others) who have called Synod members to welcome the bishops’ package (because they want the limited blessings, so they submit to the ban on gay marriage). I’ll except Jayne Ozanne from that charge – she is courageous, blunt and forthright – but are… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

You seem to give “kudos” to homophobic evangelicals who want to ban gay marriage entirely, whilst condemning those in favour for not being sufficiently fervent. Does that mean that an evangelical standing up for hatred is preferable to a tolerant Christian who hasn’t “come out fighting” sufficiently?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Suggest you re-read my post, Father David! But do I think the ‘conservative’ churches are bolder when it comes to resisting the bishops’ proposals and standing up for what they believe? Yes. Inclusive churches are great at signing petitions, but how many are prepared to actually resist and defy the bishops because the proposals do grievous harm? Fear of sanctions? Careers before principles and the needs of gay people? I don’t know. But ‘conservatives’ will take actual actions. Inclusive churches will take what’s given to them, and fantasise that the next step is doctrinal change. It’s not. The Next Steps… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Is it possibly that they’re too aware of the validity and variety of other conflicting opinions, and too polite to wish to cause offence? (Which seems to be the prevailing social ethos these days.) As a young Christian I found the conflicting ethical debates on other issues. such as CND and ‘simple lifestyles’ equally confusing and contradictory; so many different views, all claiming to be the ‘true’ Christian stance. In the end I just stopped listening and thought for myself!

Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

I believe thinking for ourselves is very precious and important, because we are born with God-given minds and God-given consciences, and we may also believe that God the Holy Spirit dwells in us, interacts with us, opens and reveals the nature of love to us in our hearts. I like your recognition of complexities, John. Like you, I struggled with the complexity over nuclear weapons. Another complexity is that we are called to live in community and, while (above) I affirmed our need to use our consciences, at the same time I think as communities we need to seek and… Read more »

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I occasionally look at Thinking Anglicans but on this subject the “other side” seems little represented. Gay marriage has been legalised in the UK as in my Australia. I do not know anyone who wants to ban it : that is impossible nonsense. But at least one third of Australians voted against it and conscientiously still do not believe that it is marriage, the view of the majority of Anglicans world-wide but of course not in the US Episcopal Church not I guess in the UK. As a liberal but culturally conservative, small u unitarian Anglican priest, admittedly very ancient,… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

This is an ongoing problem: why do “liberals” consistently fail to show the courage of our convictions?

It’s been obvious at least since Jeffrey John was driven from Reading that these “rules” aren’t being followed in good faith. John did all they demanded, at great personal cost, and was thanked by an additional (and knowingly impossible) demand that he “repent” of having been in a loving same-sex relationship.

Yes “progressives” have, with few exceptions, refused to call this behaviour out. Why? I believe it’s an instinctive dislike of conflict, but too many good people are suffering for it to continue.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

The conservative evangelicals have one point in their favour that the inclusives lack. The absolute, coldblooded conviction they are right. The source of that assurance can be read in black and white within the Bible, ‘which clearly says’ they are. The inclusive view has to be read into it and inferred – not everybody still accepts the remarriage of divorced people, for example. That has to be ‘inferred’ on the same principle as equality of LGBTetc believers – can’t remember the author, but the book “The Hard Sayings of Jesus” spelt that one out pretty clearly.Indeed, sickeningly so. God, after… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

I agree with you (a) that conservatives can call on a face-value argument from the Bible that man-man sex is sinful; (b) that conservatives tend to be more forthright and willing to take a stand for their beliefs. I am not convinced that God prefers to deal in “absolute revealed truth”. Bible authors may have claimed that, but I believe God is more reclusive, more numinous, than that. I believe God allows complexities, and coaxes us to open up to love through our lives… through experience of pain, of failure, of other people’s lives, and through trust. As for common… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
1 year ago

Of course these proposals would also bring the C of E closer to some provinces within the Anglican Communion too.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 year ago

Time to call their bluff and say cheerio.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

How? They’ve made it clear they’re not leaving. And the majority in the House of Bishops agree with their view of marriage and don’t want them to leave. They are not going anywhere, even if they choose to self-organise within the Church of England with structures they set up themselves. They will protest and complain, and form allegiances (and forms of oversight?) with GSFA/GAFCON-style groups… and claim they are more faithful to the Anglican Communion… … but they’re not about to abandon their church buildings. They want the liberal churches to move instead, and have suggested (variously) that liberal churches… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

If they won’t pass equal marriage, then by far the most productive thing Synod could be doing is preparing a scheme whereby buildings and other real estate can be made available to their worshipers when the inevitable crossroad is reached. Last thing England needs is the bitter fallout from TEC/ACNA divorce, which incredibly, saw TEC filing suit to retain churches absent their congregations. That fiasco and its ensuing bitters can at least be averted across the Atlantic.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Only if a parish has more than one church building. You forget that the Church of England maintains territorial parishes and, regardless of what reactionary factions may think, the CofE will continue to have responsibility for those parishes if the current incumbent and his (and it’s almost inevitably his) congregation choose to leave. On the other hand, if a benefice has an excess of buildings and breakaway sects are willing to take on one of them perhaps they could be granted a lease at peppercorn rent but with responsibility for upkeep. I doubt very much that, outside of a handful… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Excellent point about geographic parishes. Multiple-church benefices are of course easiest to divide; as for the rest, at present, since many feel excluded, they’re de facto unable to provide a service to all on their patch. With a church as broad as the CoE, perhaps it’s time to set aside geographic parishes and formalize a situation where people travel to their preferred churchmanship.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

That’s all very well in large urban areas where public transport is frequent even on a Sunday, and you may well have half a dozen churches of varying churchmanships in walking distance, but it’s not acceptable to say “sorry, if you live in this village in Norfolk and don’t drive your only option is a Society church”. Setting aside the parish system also promotes (even further) the idea that being served by a priest is a privilege of those congregations that can afford it rather than a ministry of service provided for every community, rich or poor.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Provision should of course be made for those living in the countryside (indeed, improved, as many rural multi-church benefices are stretched to near breaking-point).

The parish system has much to recommend it, so long as there’s a degree of uniformity. Since there’s no appetite to reimpose that, in many areas, its theoretical. Done right, either replacing it, or a hybrid model, could improve access, which I’d certainly wish to maximize.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

You are surely right in saying evangelicals are “not going anywhere”. Over the last few decades they have turned the CofE into a happy-clappy denomination in their own image. Their Church “plants” have been centrally financed and supported; the simplistic HTB model of the smiling friendly minister who teaches what a regular bloke Jesus is; the Alpha Course becoming a mainstream tool to promote a trendy formula for a religion for smiling people. It’s all very ghastly. But it’s what the bishops have promoted. It deserves to wither and die. LGBTQ people should happily get on with their lives and… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

Disagree as I do with evangelical theology, I respect their ability to present the Gospel in a culturally accessible manner, alongside their committment to living out their faith day-to-day. Although their way isn’t my way, and I’m uncompromising on the right of all be treated equally before the altar, I do believe there’s much to be learned, which is why I’m so upset to see this wrenching the church apart, with no apparent path ahead besides walking apart. But if we must go our separate ways, let it at least be done as painlessly as possible.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

“Presenting the gospel in a culturally accessible manner” has hardly been a resounding success for the evangelicals. Some of their churches attract a certain constituency who like happy-clappyness, but the vast majority of the English find it embarrassing and cringeworthy. And it’s not just style. The simplistic substance doesn’t make much intellectual sense either. You respect their right to ply their Bible-based wares, whilst they themselves show scant respect for views other than their own. The old evangelical cliche that the CofE is simply ” a convenient ship to fish from” has always shown these bible-believing members hang loosely to… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

It’s true that the vast majority of England don’t attend evangelical churches, but also that they don’t attend the theological alternatives. Services with minimal liturgy and music in a contemporary setting are, at the least, a smaller cultural leap than the more traditional worship that I personally find speaks to me.

Simplicity’s a criticism that spreads across traditions. Perhaps evangelical services are more prone to it, but it can be indistinguishable from stating theology plainly. Certainly much evangelical writing is complex and nuanced, albeit based on axioms I don’t hold.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

I think welcome and sense of belonging are the things most likely to make people feel at ease, rather than one particular tradition or another.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

There’s a danger that we get into a triangle of victim, persecutor and rescuer. Casting the bishops as potential rescuers is foolish as they see themselves as the victims too. As LGBTQI people we have to break this pointless triangle and invite the CEEC to walk. Despite the evidence to the contrary they have constructed a narrative that they are the only ‘successful’ part of the CofE. We don’t have to go along with this nonsense – Christopher in an earlier post highlights where the true strength of the CofE is – in ordinary parish churches the length and breadth… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

If I’m reading this rightly, Father, a great many evangelicals do actually see themselves as ‘true’ ‘real’ or ‘genuine’ Christians and all the rest are second rate or ‘not the ticket’. I see myself as a moderate evangelistic Christian first, and an Anglican second – and at times like this a very long way second. Most of my Christian social contacts unconsciously reflect the above assessment, automatically assuming that a ‘true’ believer will be conservative doctrinally, and probably politically and, equally typically, at least semi-free church. Interestingly one friend said recently that they don’t like the term ‘evangelical’ because of… Read more »

David Cleugh
David Cleugh
1 year ago

Obviously a very important statement and profoundly important to them. I hope it finds its way on to the church websites in a prominent position of those churches who are behind this statement. I wonder what effect that will have on the 18-30s who worship with them. Shame that so few of these churches advertise that they have sought alternative episcopal oversight on the matter of the ordination of women.

James Byron
James Byron
1 year ago

“… CEEC will continue to advocate a settlement, without theological compromise, based on a permanent structural rearrangement resulting in visible differentiation.”

OK, so does that mean that the CEEC will allow separate provinces (or whatever they wish to call a federal arrangement) wherein different theological traditions can live with integrity (including those who wish to affirm equal marriage)? Because that’s the only way I can see that’ll move past this impasse without messy and bitter schism. If there’s to be a parting of the ways, let it be done quickly, in a way that respects the consciences of all.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Respecting the consciences of both groups is the only way there’s the slightest likelihood of a way out of this toxic conflict. That’s why I was so gutted by the bishops. They knew very well it was a pathway they could have proposed (I know that from multiple correspondences). Not that it would have been swept through Synod, but it’s been done in Scotland. It could have been the signpost they gave, because it is a decent, respectful way of keeping the Church of England a Broad Church and not a hard evangelical sect. I still believe they have an… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

“This is a pastoral emergency about TODAY, not 5 years’ time …” This is surely the crux of it, and something I’d like to see recognized by more who defend the traditional position (especially open evangelicals).

For a start, how about all the living bishops who took part in the horrifying ’03 Reading campaign issue an unreserved apology? That’d be a meaningful and powerful gesture, one that could be followed by an undertaking to hear and work with LGBT people in the now.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

You might like to read through this paper produced by ceec : https://ceec.info/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/visibly_different_-_dated_26_july_2020.pdf

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Bob
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing that, and I’ve done so. Although I disagree with its theological foundations, I recognize that it’s thoughtful work from a conservative POV. Interestingly, it appears open to the prospect of a third province for those who hold to the traditional position (although less so for its opposite, a liberal province).

Although the bishops’ statement isn’t it, a mutually-acceptable way forward may yet be possible, so long as the consciences of those who take an affirming position are accorded as much respect as are those who hold to the Church’s historic teaching.

Nigel Aston
Nigel Aston
1 year ago

If Evangelical congregations do head out on what so many view as the primary breach of Biblical teaching lurking in these proposals remember they will take their money with them. That’s not a good outcome for a cash strapped established Church. At the very least, expect many more to affiliate to the new Bishop of Ebbsleet.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Nigel Aston
1 year ago

If the price for keeping evangelical money is continuing to abuse our LGBT siblings it is too high a price.

I suspect, however, that many evangelical leaders will find that their congregations largely have no desire to pick this hill to die on. There are a fair number of people who attend evangelical churches because that’s where there’s a critical mass of young people, or they like the style of worship, but aren’t on board with the extremist teaching.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Agree 100% about people attending evangelical churches for reasons other than theology (accessible services, weekday groups, peer support etc). A tendency recognized within evangelicalism when teaching around sexuality either goes unmentioned or is downplayed.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Nigel Aston
1 year ago

The only legal ground for asking for the oversight of Ebbsfleet is the inability to accept women in “headship” roles. The legislation can’t be used as a way of showing dissent in relation to the HoB proposals on same sex relationships. (And probably there aren’t many complementarian clergy and PCCs who haven’t already made a decision on women in oversight). The Venn diagram of those opposed to the current HoB proposals would show a wider spectrum of evangelicals than only the complementarians.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
1 year ago

I think what is coming out of this as a very bottom line, is something which Bishop Lord Williams said during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury, giving it as it is, something which no previous Archbishop of Canterbury dared to do, or was to diplomatic to do, he felt that the theory of comprehensiveness in the Church of England, was somewhat bogus and rather than a Church entertaining diversity, what the Bishop felt we had in reality was “Three Church of England’s”, or to put it another way three separate Churches in what is supposed to be one National… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I don’t think we need to take the CEEC too seriously. They have in fact done some good work on what differentiation might look like. I think they get the message. Few serving bishops are sensible enough to be involved. Only two are members of the Council. Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich, who joined after he became a bishop, and Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford. Not sure what that means for unity in his diocese. He is the only diocesan involved and he certainly hasn’t asked me for advice on the matter! He has been on the Council for some… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I have often wondered where a parish withholds its parish share the diocese can legally with draw augmentation or does the historic endowment of a parish ( I remember it was about £350 in my last parish. )

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

Meant to add ) no longer exist

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

To be fair to extreme ConEvo parishes who declare UDI (an example in the Diocese of St Albans was Holy Trinity Lyonsdown – now returning to the fold I understand), they obviously make alternative arrangements for the vicar’s stipend, but fail to make what would have been the further contributions due. Parish Share does not constitute a debt, so failure to pay merely leads to a stand off, often only resolved when the incumbent leaves (for whatever reason).

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

As far as I know, DBFs have no formal powers to deprive parishes of capital in default of parishes paying their quota or withholding it altogether. However, I suppose DBFs have considerable suasion at various points in time (notably during vacancies and pastoral reorganisations), as per Sections 8, 28 and 37 here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukcm/2018/8/contents/enacted. Other usual forms of suasion are suspending the living at the next vacancy, appointing a priest in charge (or no one at all), so depriving the patrons of their right to appoint. Some dioceses *appear* to have made appointment contingent upon guarantees that share will be paid… Read more »

Susanna
Susanna
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

As a semi- detached member of the C of E-incidentally becoming more detached by the minute- I need a glossary of opposing groups and acronyms to follow this. No wonder allegiance to the C of E is falling given what seems to me to be such an overwhelming preoccupation with the sexual orientation of worshippers of whom different groups and acronyms disapprove because their group/ acronym alone holds the secret of true righteousness , however damaging this may be to those they hold to be unrighteous Meanwhile- huge portions of the nation cannot cannot afford to live decently or to… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susanna
1 year ago

Comments like this are very frequent on TA but the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 are: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation. Accordingly all of the protected characteristics, including “marriage and civil partnership” and “religion or belief” apply generally across the board and are not in any way limited to the Church (I think in this context you are referring to the C of E), also extending equally to any other denomination, religion or belief. I think confusion additionally arises under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples)… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Susanna
1 year ago

Hi Susanna, I agree with much of your comment, but just to point out for the benefit of others, I am a different Susannah with an ‘h’ at the end of my name!

Yes, I believe the bishops’ failure to resolve the discrimination of gay and lesbian people will mean years more toxic debate and distraction – when there are so many other pitiful needs.

The harm and the crisis is now, and they needed to sort this out.

They haven’t.

best wishes, Susannah

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