Thinking Anglicans

Leaders say only Canon B2 should be used for same-sex blessings

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.

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Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
11 months ago

The legal pathways open to the Church obviously matter, but one must guard against attempts to impede of block the spirit and expressed will of the Church as represented in General Synod. The fundamental issue is ‘What do members of the Church of England – after careful prayer and reflection – actually want?’ The will of the Church membership can be measured, and there has already been indication in February that a majority of Synod members believe the Prayers of Blessing should be confirmed and introduced. Due process is following its course. Synodical approval of the blessings will rest on… Read more »

Alexander Thomson
Alexander Thomson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Legal pathways not only matter, but they are essential where formal and public decisions are involved. Unfortunately – as I know from personal experience – clergy high and low, and diocesan and other administration, are quick and firm to apply rules to those with whom they disagree but slow and firm to disregard rules when it suits them. There is little redress against this hypocrisy, the Charity Commissioners having long abandoned any meaningful oversight over the Church of England.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
11 months ago

There is a further line of attack being stacked up too. That is to campaign for individual conservative bishops *not* to authorise or allow the use of the Prayers of Love and Faith in any churches in their dioceses. Authorisation by individual bishops is not going to fly. It is not going to be an acceptable formula to General Synod. The whole point of protecting the consciences of priests (socially conservative or liberal) is that they should be allowed but not obliged to use such prayers as commended by General Synod. A bishop banning the use of such prayers in… Read more »

Rich
Rich
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

All very interesting but what you have not addressed is whether this is blessing sin. That’s the key issue and one can’t get away from that

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

Whether these liturgies bless sin is not the key issue. You appear to think they do bless sin, Susannah does not. You have different views

The key issue is whether people like you and Susannah, with your divergent views, are willing to exist, side-by-side, in the same church.

Susannah clearly is. What about you?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Simon Dawson
11 months ago

Simon Callow, in today’s Times, writes of “a fundamental failure to grasp what the theatre is: not a model for behaviour but a crucible in which we look at what it is to be human. Not a pulpit, but a gymnasium of the imagination.” For theatre read church, and – having just moved from the easy familiarity of a Devon village to the strange land that is Bristol – if I can find one like that I might even renew my PTO.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

It’s not ‘blessing’ at all. It’s prayers.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

Is it? Whatever phrasing is used it is merely an entreaty to the Lord to bless the couple. If it is a sin then He may, if He wishes, withhold His blessing. I really don’t get what the issue is.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
11 months ago

How do we know when a blessing is withheld? Are people stricken by something horrible?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
11 months ago

If we can’t tell what’s the point of seeking a blessing?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Kate
11 months ago

Can you explain how God withholds a blessing and how He makes the decision? And can you tell which people haven’t had one?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and therefore I recognise your theological point.

My consistent experience of “conservatives” who use social media is that they are self-righteous, ignorant and aggressive trolls.

I am sure you are refreshingly different and therefore look forward to your contributions being a model of grace and humility.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

I am very mindful of your views on sexuality and marriage, Peter. I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t think the call for B2 will be accepted. The reality is that B2 involves a lock on change, and that implies zero progress over the attrition and distress in the Church of England. Speaking personally, I find the Prayers unsatisfactory, because they just perpetuate the ‘stand off’ and don’t resolve the real doctrinal issue. They kick the can down the road, and (in literal terms) don’t mention sex or marriage, but by implication (rings etc) and the fact… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Thank you Susannah for your thoughtful comments. I remain and will always be a Christian who believes marriage is between a man and a woman. I no longer adopt or accept the label “conservative”. It was never essential (we are not saved by our label) and has in my view become a “badge” of which I am ashamed. The horrendous behaviour on Ian Paul’s site was the final nail in the coffin for me. (To be clear, I am not accusing Ian himself of anything. The owners of the Telegraph are not responsible for the cesspit they have as a… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

While not directly responsible both Ian Paul and The Telegraph inevitably attract people who agree with the views they hold, and by the very nature of those views a lot of those people are not going to be very pleasant.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

Jo,

I cannot accept your inference that everybody who thinks marriage is between a man and a woman holds a view that will naturally attract unpleasant people.

Also, you misunderstand my point about the Telegraph. I do not for one moment accept the inference that “unpleasant” people read The Telegraph whilst “nice” people read – presumably – The Guardian.

Comments sections – unless they are moderated – are always full of deeply unpleasant comment, regardless of the owner’s general stance.

It is a toxic and widely accepted feature of social media.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

If you promote a view that discriminates against LGBT people then, regardless of your motivations, you will attract virulent homophobes and transphobes. If, as in the case of the Telegraph, you demonise LGBT, people of colour, immigrants and people on benefits then you will attract people who support and enjoy that demonisation. Efficiency of moderation is a factor, certainly, but also what you consider to be within the bounds of reasonable debate. You point to The Guardian, and you will certainly find a fair amount of vitriol there, but it is almost entirely directed at people for the choices they… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

Maybe once in a while put your weapons down and think about the person you are addressing.

And before you come back with your rebuttal that just repeats what I have said right back at me – you are still under an obligation to treat people as you would want them to treat you.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

I think in this instance you (Peter) have misread my you (generic) as directed at you (Peter). Apologies for not being clear.

The “you” in the first paragraph of my previous post is generic. Only in the second am I addressing you (Peter) directly.

That said, making arguments that are uncomfortable to you is not using “weapons”. If I were espousing views and actions that caused harm to others I would hope and expect to be called to account by my fellow Christians. I might not like it at the time, of course!

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

The issue facing the CofE is whether marriage of same-sex couples can be blessed by the church. It isn’t simpliciter “discrimination against LGBT people” — that language is routinely used in all manner of non CofE or non Christian contexts. That you reflexively conflate the two is telling. All manner of LGBT people don’t want to be married in the CofE. It wouldn’t cross their minds. And yet that is the specific context presently under discussion in the CofE.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Anglican Priest
11 months ago

The refusal to bless relationships between partners of the same sex is discriminatory, and a clear example of discrimination against LGBT people. You and others may think it is justified discrimination, but discrimination it remains.

The fact that people, of any sexuality or gender, reject marrying in the CofE represents a missional failure. That failure can only be worsened by continued exhibitions of institutional discrimination.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Anglican Priest
11 months ago

Actually we need to use the “discrimination” word because one of the main reasons to allow same sex marriage is to stop discriminating against LGBT people. Just as we need to talk about the ongoing discrimination of women. Talk of “mutual flourishing” deliberately hides the issue. Refusing to see the marriage issue as discrimination does the same thing: it’s a way of hiding from reality l.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

That is universally true, left and right.

(…and lots of progressives frequent Ian Paul’s blog).

Last edited 11 months ago by Anglican Priest
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anglican Priest
11 months ago

I became a Christian thirty five years ago. Nobody had heard of conservative evangelicals at that time.

John Stott and David Edwards conducted a scrupulously courteous debate between an evangelical and a liberal. It seems a lifetime ago.

The rancour and sectarian hostility that now passes for Christian debate shames us all.

I continue to respect your perspective and analysis in the midst of too much malice and stupidity purporting to be intelligent comment.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

Yes, the rancor is at times breath-taking.

If one has decided they have a limitless “umbrage credit line” to draw upon, they believe they are invincibly entitled to deploy it against all with whom they disagree.

The same goes for those who speak of “orthodoxy” but can’t measure their give-and-take, and make their case charitably.

I came into this site some time ago because I assumed it was a place for Thinking Anglican exchange. But it comes with a price and with a lot of exchange that is far from “thinking.”

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Anglican Priest
11 months ago

Both sidesism is nonsense.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

I agree. Not a few distinguished journalists have left the BBC in order to report the truth through other media organisations. An obsession with both sideism has afflicted the BBC with tedious blandness. The CofE’s attempts to hold together liberals and bigots makes its message totally pointless.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

Well, that settles that.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
11 months ago

What is consciously being avoided in the now revised prayers (as of May 26) is any mention of marriage or sexual relationship, or the idea that God blesses those two things. Of course, social conservatives in the Church know full well (as do the bishops) that many of those who receive these prayers will be in intimate sexual relationships, and that their whole relationship will be perceived in that context by friends and family present: that it’s marriages that are in many cases really being celebrated. You only have to look at the wording: Celebrating a couple’s ‘love, faithfulness and… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
11 months ago

This is a dishonest document. It calls for an end to homophobia by people who are very clearly homophobic or self hating gays. It calls for a thorough legal process not because any of the authors want a thorough legal process but because they want to use this as a tactic to block any prayers to bless the sexual union of my Lesbian and Gay sisters and brothers in Christ. In this debate and the debate on independent safeguarding I see a Church that ties itself up legal and bureaucratic complexity and is steadily making itself irrelevant and untrustworthy for… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

“they want to use this as a tactic to block…” Precisely. I find it depressing that Nicky Gumbel has put his name to this letter. In the past he was categorically opposed to gay sex, but in recent years he implied he no longer was. Yet here he is in the vanguard of opposition to moves to allow more conscience and affirmation of gay people’s lives and gay people’s love. If Synod vote for the Prayers, they vote for the prayers. That is not (as the letter claims) “bypassing Synod”. It is respecting that the majority view in the Church… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Although the motive behind the letter is questionable, they do have a point. In some TA threads we are bemoaning that the bishops (and the Archbishops’Council in particular) are acting peremptorily rather than let Synod decide, but here a motion before Synod is rejected in favour of peremptory action by the archbishops. Is it possible that our view on the involvement of Synod depends on the likely outcome?

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
11 months ago

I don’t think so. B5 categorically is contingent on agreement by Synod. If Synod decides (after prayer and reflection) that the Prayers may be used, then that’s a decision made by the representatives of the whole Church.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

I agree with what you write other than the generalisation about royal courtiers. I can assure you that, like most groups, they are a mixed bag.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

“This is a dishonest document.” That’s exactly what it is; an attempt to stop the development in its tracks. When the ConEvos (and a few others) reach for their lawyers, you know they are on the back foot. And I’m not surprised that their KC has advised that the safest way to proceed is via Canon B2. Note the inference that he didn’t say therefore that it was the only way. That would be the greatest procedural hurdle and is almost bound to ensure the prayers fail to be introduced in any form (based on Synod’s current composition). The reality… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
11 months ago

ConEvo is and will remain a convenient badge to attach to people.

However its use is a form of tribal politics. It tells everybody that “they” are the bad people who are “the enemy”.

You are an influential figure. Can I appeal to you to find a different vocabulary.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

It is a convenient badge and does what it says on the tin: conservative evangelicals. I don’t regard its use my me and many others as deliberately pejorative; of course it speaks of the tribe. TradCaths also signed the letter. I’ve seen that in action over many years on General Synod, and worse, the Crown Nominations Commission. Antics there led to the O’Donovan Report, Discerning in Obedience. As an affirming evangelical, a growing tribe perhaps, most ConEvos have long since given up on me, some slightly aggressively. I don’t particularly like the tribalism, but it won’t be eliminated by changing… Read more »

Peter
Peter
11 months ago

The binary of “conservative” against “progressive” is surely being superseded by a new division.

The new division is between those who respect constitutional government and those who favour autocracy exercised by an elite.

I am not ignoring the reality of the separation ahead between those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and those who do not have that conviction.

I am saying can we not at least stand together in the face of rulers who are unfit to be in office.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

I strongly agree with that Peter and I would add that it is not just who makes the decisions it is also the motivation for making the decisions and the mindset that reveals. As Richard Rohr reminds us in the quote in my post above Christians have a clear instruction in the Gospels to care for the vulnerable and the victims. But we have a head of safeguarding who objects to too much focus on the survivors of abuse !! I believe this crisis presents a heaven sent opportunity for conservatives and liberals to work together and understand each other… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

David,

we need clergy and laity to put aside their profound divisions over marriage this weekend and to speak with one voice in condemning the destruction of the safeguarding structure of the Church of England.

The bishops will, of course, cling together. However, this is an absolutely critical weekend ahead of us.

Incidentally, TA has done a public service to us all with its meticulous journalism in the run up to GS in York.

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

There is a lot in what you say, Peter. There should be no place in the Church of England, and the lives and sacrifices of all its members, for autocracy or a kind of ‘Star Chamber’ that has shown (re ISB) that it can act arbitrarily, and outside agreed process, or to impose things ‘just because we can’. That has recently been epitomised in the way the Archbishops’ Council put their desperation to abruptly abolish the ISB first, and because of their reckless speed put very vulnerable survivors last, failing to inform them. This was clearly done to avoid the… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Dear Susannah and Peter, I hope we can all learn from Bishop Cherry Vann “One obvious example of this in the Anglican Church is the divisions that have arisen over the ordination of women as priests and bishops. I vividly remember a three day Manchester clergy conference in the mid-90’s, just after the first women had been ordained to the priesthood in 1994. The custom was to dress down on these occasions, but those who were opposed to the ordination of women came attired in their black clerical shirts. We unkindly referred to them as the black brigade. They sat… Read more »

Alexander Thomson
Alexander Thomson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

But the Church of England IS a feudal society, an overmighty corporation, a leviathan, that continues to have almighty bishops over large dioceses rather than the many local bishops in local places as in early times. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in a hot place, of reforming it.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
11 months ago

This is a very misleading publication. Despite all the these organisations featured bold, it is not a letter from 11 organisations with a common mind. In a footnote we’re told it is signed by some leaders in those organisations in a private capacity. That really is deceitful. But I do wonder if this will kick back on them. Firstly, no one likes be talked to like this. Assertive, angry and full of shouty bold type. Secondly, on social media there are already members of these corpus saying this does not speak for the and there was no consultation. So how… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

It would be deceitful if they claimed to be speaking for everyone in their organisation – but they explicitly say that they aren’t. It’s unusually honest, far from deceitful. It is a very significant document. Gumbel and Coates publicly supported Welby for a long time and then went silent. I am surprised to see them making a statement like this. They are clearly genuinely concerned and I think it’s strange that no-one in this thread appears to be taking that seriously. Many of the signatories are not people who appeal to the readers of this website, but they are widely… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Paul
11 months ago

Widely respected by other conservatives, perhaps. Even among those I’ve met who find Alpha a helpful tool there is little love for Gumbel’s smug brand of wealthy middle class metropolitan evangelicalism.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jo B
Paul
Paul
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

There aren’t many Anglican leaders that fill the Albert Hall each year with another 150,000 online watching.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Paul
11 months ago

I thought we’d learned by now that the ability to attract a large crowd shouldn’t guarantee respect for one’s views?

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 months ago

Amen. I am not citing this as evidence that they should be respected. I am exploring whether they are respected.

Jo B is arguing that they are not widely respected and there is little love for them. She implies that we can dismiss their signing of this letter as something insubstantial and meaningless. I disagree with her.

Last edited 11 months ago by Paul
Paul
Paul
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

It must be personally rather devastating for Welby. These are people who he respects and who have held off from publicly criticising him – instead reassuring their constituency that Welby is doing a good job and all will be fine. They clearly no longer think that. The normal informal channels based on friendship aren’t getting the message across so they are now signing a letter written by people who have been criticising Welby for years (and who Gumbel and Coates have told off for not getting behind Welby). It’s not really a document designed for public consumption, but it is… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

Mr Gumbel irritates me too, for similar reasons, but the present argument isn’t about personalities. I’d rather not be taken down that road!

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Paul
11 months ago

I stand by my view. The concerns themselves are not new and part of the current debates – so they are already being heard. But until you read the footnote every impression in the layout of the letter suggests these are Organisations speaking – and therefore on behalf of their members.That is the headline in the Church Times. ‘Church Organisations urge ….’ I am still reading pushback from people in these organisations who have not been consulted a bout this and are not happy to be identified with the position in this letter. I offer no view on the signatories… Read more »

Ellie Rose
Ellie Rose
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

Of course it is aggressive, it needs to be. This is a pre-cursor to legal action and this ridiculous overreach by the House of Bishops is going to be stopped. No judge will accept their approach is acceptable or rational.

John Bavington
John Bavington
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

Hi David, I’m puzzled by your suggestion that ‘the concerns themselves are not new and part of the current debates – so they are already being heard.’ As far as I am aware, the letter under debate is a response to the very recently published suggestion that the Archbishops might commend these prayers under Canon B4.2, which would be without precedent for something so controversial. Your comment seems to imply that it is illegitimate for these people to make their point in response to a new suggestion, because it isn’t a new point. This intervention by a group of extremely… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Bavington
11 months ago

B5 is a correct process. That route may yet be taken. It is up to General Synod in the end (after prayer and reflection) to decide whether they believe proper process is followed. Their decisions ARE proper process. It is for them (the Church) to decide. You may prefer the B2 route (because it would block change) but I’m afraid that is wishful thinking. I have expressed my views here and here on Ian Paul’s site, with further thoughts here and reflections on legality of the Prayers here. We do engage with these issues. The thing is, the signatories on… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

“Most people in the pews don’t really care much about the whole sex thing” So my question is why some people do really care about the sex thing ? The ordination of women bishops did cause practical difficulties for parishes that believe that women can’t or shouldn’t be priests. But the blessing of same sex sexual unions isn’t an issue like that. What happens in one parish shouldn’t affect another. We manage with a huge difference of opinion about the nature of the Eucharist and that disagreement caused riots in the late nineteenth century but now everyone in the Church… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

I’m sure some conservatives can and will reply as to their own reasoning. When I held conservative views myself, the crunch issue was the authority of scripture. A key tenet of the Reformation, and of evangelical theology since, is that the meaning of scripture is plain and can be readily understood by the ordinary person. We all know the ‘clobber texts’ that appear, at first reading (especially if you don’t know the socio-historical context) to condemn homosexuality. Therefore, refusing to condemn homosexuality implies either a disobedience to scripture, a denial of its authority, or a rebuttal of the principle that… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  John Bavington
11 months ago

Hi John. Of course the concerns expressed in the letter are not illegitimate. I said no such thing, Indeed I have recently been spending long hours in hot rooms with people holding such views, and others, seeking the way forward in the Impiementation Groups. I respect these people. I wish the letter showed respect for the views of others. The mandatory ‘we are not homophobic’ claim in the opening sentences is the nearest this letter gets to acknowledging LBGTQI+ people are actually in the room. To repeat, like others here, my concern is with the tone and particularly the embedding… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

The most egregious line is ‘We are all agreed there is no place for homophobia or discrimination in the Church.’ What is not said is ‘but we ourselves want to continue to discriminate against LGBTQI+ people by forbidding them to be married in church or to have their marriages recognised as real marriages.’ When challenged on this (I know the script, I once used it myself), the reply would be ‘but that’s not discrimination, because it’s impossible for two people of the same sex to marry each other.’ These oppositionalists seem totally unaware of the fact that, to LGBTQI+ people… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 months ago

I think the word ‘discrimination’ is a bit of a tricksy word. The actual word is routinely used, in an objective and scientifc context (and others) to mean ‘recognising two things as different to each other’. If a socially ‘conservative’ Christian believes that the Bible is God telling them to obey it, and that the Bible is against men having sex with men, then their act of discrimination *between* gay and straight couples may be regarded as a matter of conscience and devoted faith, and discriminatory in that objective sense. They may have gay friends who they like. They may… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

I agree with the descriptive character of your first 3 paragraphs.

Hurling accusations into the air that purport to be above evaluation is one of the main obstacles to rational discussion of the problem facing sincere Christians on different side.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

I think Tim is right. After the routine denial in the opening para – we are not homophobic or discriminatory – the letter goes on to completely ignore the presence of LGBTQi+ in this discussion. The very people this is all about and who are most impacted by this. That is what discrimination looks like and how it behaves. It excludes. After 6 years of LLF courses and more, is revealing and quite disturbing.
.

Mark
Mark
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

They speak for us — haha. But seriously, I think they believe they are in some way advocating for us. Until we repent. But they are blind to their own self-justification.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  John Bavington
11 months ago

I agree. This is a new point. Reading the language in the Canons, while through verbal gymnastics in the wording of the prayers they are consistent with present doctrine, in my (personal and lay) opinion it is hard to argue they the prayers, even in such a weak form, aren’t “indicative” of a change of doctrine. Present doctrine is that same sex relationships are sinful and, as the conservatives keep saying, the church can’t bless something which is sinful so presumably the prayers indicate that doctrine that such relationships are sinful is no longer absolute. Indeed, I don’t think gay,… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

The letter writer can’t be blamed for the Church Times headline.

The letter says:

“We write as a broad alliance of leaders of networks …we are duty bound to express our individual and collective concerns”

I can’t see how they could be clearer that they speak as leaders of organisations, not delegates representing the views of organisations. It’s a private letter, not a conference resolution.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Paul
11 months ago

The headline took the line you quote at face value. They claimed to write collectively ‘as leaders of networks’. Then in a footnote do they say they write in a personal capacity not as leaders of those organisations. If you are only writing personally use official letter paper.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

Of course, the CEEC has been claiming to speak for all evangelicals in the Church of England for a long time. But you and I know, David, that there are many evangelicals who do not agree with them. Their solution is to redefine ‘evangelical’ to intentionally exclude people like us.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
11 months ago

I agree. To many of them, you and David are not evangelicals at all. That’s not my take on either of you.

peter kettle
peter kettle
11 months ago

Here we go again (remember Anglican / Methodist Unity, Ordination of Women?) Catholics and Evangelicals joining forces …. Some time ago, it was gently pointed out to me on here that the old polarised groupings no longer really had any clout. Now I wonder.

Kate
Kate
11 months ago

“We write as a broad alliance of leaders of networks…” [Emphasis added]

In explicitly invoking their status in those networks, for me they have crossed the line from expressing a purely personal opinion to expressing a view which a reasonable person might think they are giving as a leader of the organisation concerned.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
11 months ago

Firstly there is a decent due process case for using Canon B2, but the arguments are not really about due process but about achieving particular outcomes. The prayers are clearly significant for those who will use them. That is not decisive in favour of B2, but it takes a mighty chunk of independent mindedness to make a judgment on such a thing without (in current circumstances) having the outcome in view. Secondly, if a threat of legal action against those who use prayers authorised on the currently envisaged trajectory is intended to be implied here, those who make it should… Read more »

Peter Owen
Admin
11 months ago

At least one of the organisations is unhappy. The Prayer Book Society has put out this statement. The letter addressed to the College of Bishops regarding the proposed liturgical resources, “Prayers of Love and Faith” The Prayer Book Society holds no formal stance on the proposed liturgical resources, “Prayers of Love and Faith”. The Society is a single-issue organisation which unites a wide range of people who cherish the Book of Common Prayer and its use in today’s Church. Our vision and mission is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the Prayer Book in such… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Peter Owen
11 months ago

“We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. …. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; ”

James
James
11 months ago

This seems very significant to me as the first time that the HTB Network has raised its head above the parapet (both Archie Coates and Nicky Gumbel are co-signatories). Until now they had basically been acting as Switzerland. That might be the ball-game.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James
11 months ago

Unless (as seems likely) on this issue they’re leaders without many followers.

Ellie Rose
Ellie Rose
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

The HTB Network is united on this with very few dissenting voices. HTB itself is 50% Black and Asian, and these groups in general are fervently against these prayers, along with the vast vast majority of the rest of the congregation. “As seems likely” seems very unlikely! Will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Last edited 11 months ago by Ellie Rose
Mark
Mark
Reply to  Ellie Rose
11 months ago

How are these ‘dissenting voices’ to be heard in the ‘HTB network’?

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Ellie Rose
11 months ago

I doubt this is true. First, I find many black Anglicans from a Caribbean cultural heritage are pretty relaxed about same sex partnerships. (Though one should not generalise too much either way!) I also think many younger people in HTB congregations would be supportive of same sex partnerships. When you say ‘The HTB Network is united on this with very few dissenting voices.’ are you referring to the leadership or the congregation members? If the latter, how do you know?

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Ellie Rose
11 months ago

HTB doesn’t have to use these prayers so what is the problem Ellie Rose ? HTB also doesn’t have High Mass, a reserved sacrament or elevated host but all these things happen in other Anglican churches without HTB having a problem. What gives HTB the right to impose its homophobia on the liberal majority in the Church of England ? To put it bluntly if HTB is unwilling to live in an Anglican big tent nothing is forcing HTB to remain in the Church of England and perhaps you should leave and establish your own splinter group ? I am… Read more »

Brian
Brian
11 months ago

For some reason, this letter reminds me of the scene in Life of Brian where the Judean Peoples Front read a prepared statment from their committee as Brian is Crucified and then vote to give him a round of applause.

Especially its use of Bold Type

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

Graham Tomlin is the former bishop of Kensington (not Kingston) and before that was Principal of St Mellitus College, itself formerly HTB’s St Paul’s Theological Centre (also incorporating North Thames Ministerial Training Course and Chelmsford Diocese Training Course, but they are now history…)

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark
Mark
Mark
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

Thanks (and for all your good work here) — if only a typo was all that needed correcting about this situation

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

If the B2 route is taken (I can’t believe it will be)… but being honest, yes, there are doctrinal issues at the heart of all this… then that may nuke the whole PLF project (which, to be honest, I have opposed – because I think it’s the doctrine that needs to be hammered out… and in that case… If needs be, at such a point of utter failure of LGBT+ people, I would argue for the possibility of Parliament intervening, as I reviewed before. When do people stop kicking the can down the road? This is people’s lives we are… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Of kicking many cans there is no end; and much chasing is a weariness of the flesh.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

Thank you Ms. Ecclesiastes…

Rich
Rich
11 months ago

The bishops do not appear to have considered a province of TEC or Episcopal church of Scotland in England. That way these prayers could take place if PCCs and clergy voted to reaffiliate. cofe needs to rationalize parishes anyway.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

The conservatives are the ones who can’t abide sharing a church with people who don’t share their view on marriage, or even (as in the case of the house of bishops) people who share their view on marriage but don’t completely share their view on how to treat gay people and their committed relationships. Parishes, however, cannot leave the CofE. Besides which, no priest or lay person is going to leave the church if the prize is these half-a-dry-loaf prayers.

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
11 months ago

I am not sure where to slot in my question, ie where among all the threads it should go so I will ask it here and hope that I can get some feedback. This is a naive question but absolutely genuine. As a consequence of LLF and PLF conversations I have heard it said that the only place for (coyly phrased) sexual intimacy is within a Christian marriage which is only available to a couple of one man and one woman. Is that what I have heard and if it is what is that saying to the majority of marriages… Read more »

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