Thinking Anglicans

Living in Love and Faith – news and opinion

More articles will be added as and when they are published.

News

Church Times LLF: Archbishops apologise for harm caused to LGBTI+ people

Church Times leader comment LLF: it’s out, it’s long, it’s good

Christian Today Church of England publishes landmark resources on sexuality and relationships

Christian Today Evangelicals will ‘engage’ with Church’s sexuality resources but say key issue is ‘obedience’ to Scripture

The Guardian Church of England could rethink stance on LGBTQ+ issues by 2022

Anglican Communion News Service Church of England publishes major teaching resource on identity and sexuality

Premier Church of England outlines plans to tackle sexuality disagreements

Telegraph Church of England could hold historic vote on gay marriage in 2022 (£)

Reuters Church of England leaders apologise for ‘damage and hurt’ to LGBT+ people

Religion Media Centre Living in Love and Faith: ‘What is means to be human’

The Times Church of England to rethink same-sex marriage (£)

Daily Mail Church of England paves the way for same-sex marriages after three years of behind-closed-doors arguments on issue – as Archbishops apologise for ‘damage’ caused to LGBT community

Press Association (at the Daily Mail) Church of England decisions on sexuality and marriage `could be made within two years´
This PA article is also on the websites of a great many local newspapers.

PinkNews Church of England delays decision on same-sex marriage and LGBT+ rights until 2022 despite admitting it ‘continues to hurt’ queer people

The Living Church New C of E Resource for Discernment on Sexuality

Church Times Campaigners welcome Living in Love and Faith resources

Opinion

Helen King sharedconversations Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (1)
Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (2)
Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (3)
Deleted sex scenes from Living in Love and Faith (4)
LLF and IICSA, revisited

Helen King for Modern Church Living in Love and Faith: doing history

Marcus Green
Living in Love and Faith: One – Suddenly Equal?
Living in Love and Faith: Two – Predictably Discriminatory
Living in Love and Faith: Three – Stubbornly Hopeful

Nikki Groarke ViaMedia.News Scripture & Sexuality – Taking Nothing For Granted

Andrew Goddard Fulcrum LLF for Dummies: 10 FAQs about the Church of England’s new teaching and learning resources on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage

The Church of England Evangelical Council Living in Love and Faith: evangelicals say they are ‘ready to engage and ready to contend’

Student Christian Movement A response to the Church of England’s ‘Living in Love and Faith’ resources

Alex Clare-Young Trans. Christian. Human. LLF: Call, Response, Prayer

Jayne Ozanne

General Synod Gender and Sexuality Group

Prudence Dailey Christian Today First impressions of the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith are very disappointing

David Baker Christian Today ‘Living in Love and Faith’: there may be much to encourage, but there is also every reason to stand firm

Oliver O’Donovan The Living Church Mapping the Terrain for Engagement on Human Sexuality

Colin Coward LLF: it’s long, complex, and fails LGBTI Anglicans

Ozanne Foundation

Andrew Symes Anglican Mainstream Living in Love and Faith: early thoughts

Ian Paul (How) should we engage with Living in Love and Faith?

Christopher Cocksworth Living in Love & Faith – My Journey

Ann Memmott Ann’s Autism Blog Living in Love and Faith – How the CofE failed the autistic LGBT+ people

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Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
14 days ago

I don’t suppose that the assurance of CEEC that they will ‘contend’ for their position will reassure LGBTI+ members of the Church of England or encourage them to take seriously Hugh Palmer’s regrets. We have no interest in our lives and relationships being contended over, thank you very much. We have been traumatised enough by the discrimination we face daily. And Keith Sinclair’s offer of helping people find life-giving ways of living is just plain scary when you realise he means a) not any of our queer households and b) thinks we can be ‘helped’ to live better. It is… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
13 days ago

I simply don’t understand how any discussion of sexuality can ignore comparative anatomy and embryology. If anyone is interested, see: https://ramblingrector.me/sexuality/
I write as a former medical school Professor of human anatomy and embryology.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
13 days ago

Please don’t confuse bible bashers by introducing facts.

Stanley Monkhouse
13 days ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Quite.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
13 days ago

My initial reading of the document is congruent with Helen King’s feedback: there is an almost total lack of history before about 1950. It would be impossible to understand the church today without some awareness of, for example, the Church Fathers, or the Council of Nicea, or the Reformation. It is similarly impossible to understand the current sexuality debate within the church without some understanding of the debates on sexuality within the church for the past 2000 years, and also having some knowledge of the long history of homosexuality and transgender issues within wider culture. Such a debate seems almost… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Simon Dawson
Philip Hobday
Philip Hobday
12 days ago
Reply to  Simon Dawson

I genuinely don’t know the answer to this as I haven’t yet read through the material. But I think I heard or read that some of these issues would be tackled in more detail in the supporting / research papers?

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
13 days ago

I wonder how many faculties the Bishop of Blackburn has applied for from the Archbishop of York to ordain heterosexual people either divorced and remarried or married to a divorcee? How many heterosexual clergy has he licensed to posts who according to the words of Jesus himself, are in these adulterous liaisons? Conservative evangelicals are ‘obedient’ to Scripture when it suits them. They have always had a pick n mix approach to holy writ and so Bishop Julian’s prim words are laughable. I knew Bishop Julian when he was the Archdeacon of Dorking, a genuinely nice man but he couldn’t… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
13 days ago

Anglicanism’s change of position on contraception is surely instructive here, though few today seem to actually know what the teaching was from, say the 1880’s til well into the 20th century. Alas I know of no significant critical study of anglican attitudes or episcopal view in the period leading up to the cautious acceptance given by the 1930 Lambeth Conference or the more whole hearted welcome given in 1958. Yet this was an issue which affected the majority of the population and put Anglicanism at odds with centuries of christian moral thinking and the position of most of the Christian… Read more »

Kate
Kate
12 days ago
Reply to  Perry Butler

Contraception, unsurprisingly, is another topic missing from LLF. I would have expected it to be prominent in a discussion of human sexuality.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
12 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Contraception is a non-issue throughout Anglicanism, no matter how widely you draw it, surely? Do even the most Anglo-Catholic want to fight that battle?

Kate
Kate
12 days ago

I might be a rarity here, but I believe that the Catholic position on contraception is right.

But, whatever you believe, making it a topic which isn’t up for discussion is an example of the multiple biases in LLF.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
11 days ago

I was thinking more that this was an example where Anglicanism formally changed its mind despite the consensus of the Christian tradition and the explicit criticism of the RC Church. How this happened, the theological thinking etc would be instructive I think in how an ecclesial body handles doctrinal/ethical change and whether this has relevance ance to how we manage ethical change now.

Helen King
Helen King
12 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, it’s dealt with as a textbox on p.148. If you’re looking for omissions, I’d suggest the clitoris: also masturbation.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
12 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

Helen thank you for your thoughtful articles and especially the reminder that our understanding of the significance and anatomy of the clitoris has only really emerged in the last few decades. I have not engaged with any of the material yet but I wonder if the two omissions you mention have occurred because there is little engagement with sex as a ‘recreational’ (in the true sense of that word) activity. I wonder if masturbation is considered by many to be an ‘immature’ pursuit, or ‘selfish’ pursuit, and therefore not really within the realms of concern in this topic. And I… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Godsall

Many thanks. I agree with all you write, save that the significance of that organ was demonstrated, most famously, as long ago as the notorious 1918 libel trial initiated by the Canadian dancer Maud Allan against Noel Pemberton Billing (the plaintiff and defendant both had lives worthy of novels): https://othersociologist.com/2012/09/15/women-sexuality-wwi/ Billing (an inventor and pioneer aviator, who was then an ‘independent’, but actually extreme right-wing, MP for East Hertfordshire) alleged in various speeches and articles that Britain was infested with traitors, and that many of these were also perverts. His notorious ‘black book’, featuring 47,000 names, included Herbert and Margot… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Godsall

Andrew, I’d love to know the answer to your question. When my textbox was not accepted, I was told that those doing the final stages of the writing didn’t see any need to include it. Later on, when there was an attempt to make me rename my ‘The Church and the Clitoris’ paper (in the online library but I’m happy to send it to anyone interested – it includes the 1860s enthusiasm for clitoridectomy being supported by both Archbishops) the reason given was ‘Comms’. Fortunately enough of the inner circle resisted Comms for the paper to keep its title. I… Read more »

Penelope Cowell Doe
Penelope Cowell Doe
5 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

At one time we had an Archbishop who knew that the telos of the clitoris was joy.

Kate
Kate
11 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

Thank you. I had missed that but it still doesn’t discuss it. One of the principal traditional assertions is that procreation lies at the heart of marriage which must therefore be between a man and a woman. It therefore isn’t possible to discuss same sex marriage without also discussing contraception. Of course, if we take the glib position presented in the text box that it is for those involved to decide whether marriage should be procreative, then that equally applies to same sex marriage and the lack of procreation becomes a non-issue. LLF should have stated that but didn’t because… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
11 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

There was a lot of theological thinking about masturbation in the 1950s actually. I remember quite a bit in the rather radical journal Prism

ACI
ACI
11 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

Unthinkable! They should start all over again.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
13 days ago

I was one of the candidates interviewed to succeed him when he left Guildford diocese. At that point his ‘pick and mix’ approach had led him to vote against the legislation for women bishops – something which I was given to understand was the opposite of what he had told his colleagues would be his course of action. It seemed to me that they regarded Blackburn’s loss as their gain.

Kate
Kate
13 days ago

“There is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the church by excommunication, but also to be shut off from the world by death. For it is a much more serious matter to corrupt faith, through which comes the soul’s life, than to forge money, through which temporal life is supported. Hence if forgers of money or other malefactors are straightway justly put to death by secular princes, with much more justice can heretics, immediately upon conviction, be not only excommunicated but also put to death.” – Thomas Aquinas The CEEC press release stops short of… Read more »

Jeremy Fagan
Jeremy Fagan
13 days ago

I was staggered in two of the more conservative responses that clergy would consider trying to prevent their congregations from seeing this material. Such a paternalistic attitude implies that the laity can’t be trusted to make up their own minds, or that they are very easily corrupted. Perhaps it explains why church can be infantilising. Andrew Goddard also says that in his opinion, those of us who want to see full inclusion are still very much in the minority, so there won’t be any change for a while yet. I’m really not sure about that – I would question the… Read more »

Neil J
Neil J
13 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Fagan

The other possibility, Jeremy, which I think would be real in the congregations I am/have been a part of, is the pressure from the congregations to leave the CofE if they took full notice of LLF, where the clergy are keen to stay if possible. As John Wallace says below, most people committed to either side of the argument have probably heard/seen/read all this before. £600K to leave liberals frustrated at lack of movement and conservatives frustrated at too much movement. Maybe they’re aiming at the uncommitted centre – how political!

Charles Clapham
13 days ago

Quick bit of fact checking, by way of public service! Contrary to popular belief, LLF did not come about as a result of the refusal of Synod to ‘take note’ of the bishops’ previous proposals in February 2017. In fact, the production of a ‘teaching document on marriage and relationships’ was itself one of the proposals contained in the rejected report. By way of quick summary, the rejected report GS 2055 made 4 proposals: establishing a new tone of welcome for LGBT people; producing a new teaching document; producing new pastoral guidance; and producing new guidance about questions to be… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Charles Clapham
Helen King
Helen King
13 days ago

Charles, you’re not alone in going back to GS2055 and playing spot the difference. I note that in this original, rejected report, the aim was “a substantial new Teaching Document on marriage and relationships, replacing (or expanding upon) the House’s teaching document of 1999 on marriage and the 1991 document Issues”. So there was a change to this plan: I’ve not seen any suggestion that LLF ‘replaces’ previous statements.

Charles Clapham
13 days ago
Reply to  Helen King

Thank you Helen for this observation. There is a weary sense of deja vu for anyone who has been following these debates for any length of time. The Pilling Report in 2013 recognised there was a diversity of opinion on sexuality in the church, and the ‘Shared Conversations’ that followed it (in the words of GS 2055) “were not intended or designed to achieve agreement but to assist the careful listening that would support clear and open exchange of views and embody the principle of disagreeing Christianly, in a manner marked by Christian care for each other”. The bishops then… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Charles Clapham
Helen King
Helen King
12 days ago

I couldn’t agree more about the dangers here, Charles. I’m intending to stand for GS in the next elections, much as I’ll probably hate it (served 7 years for a previous diocese and been in therapy ever since…).

John Wallace
John Wallace
13 days ago

I’m just tired of this whole issue and the enormous waste of energy and resources which should be employed in declaring the love of God in Christ to this needy nation (and this does not mean that I disregard the struggles of my gay fellow Christians who might well feel the same). Why ‘Christians’ want to unchurch others on the basis of sexuality, I do not know. Fr Dean, I know is gay, but I neither know or care how many other priests in his former diocese share his sexuality. Milton wrote in Lycidas:’The hungry sheep look up and are… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
13 days ago
Reply to  John Wallace

Because so many influential evangelicals have an “immutable” view of scripture, it is not possible to accept a morality of human sexuality written later than the Bronze Age. To do so would undermine their adherence to ancient texts, and the whole edifice of their religion would crumble. Having a pre-scientific world-view of gay people is consistent with their view of “God’s Word Written”. The CofE may look ridiculous to an unbeliving world because many of its adherents espouse beliefs which ARE ridiculous.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
12 days ago

I attended a Zoom introduction to LLF today, peopled by a number of the Core Group who oversaw the production of the materials, and then an invited selection of interested parties from differing positions. It was hard going as far as I was concerned, and I suppose it did remind me of just how much LGBTI+ people have been problematised by the C of E. One episcopal participant, spoke of the need to learn not just about LGBTI+ people’s sexuality but about everybody’s sexuality, almost as if this was the only way by which we might find understanding to help… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
12 days ago

Darling! Any bishop wanting to get to know my sexuality will be invited to mind his or her own beeswax. Adults having sex with consenting adults capable of giving their informed consent – who knew. They need to get a life and concentrate on greed and the abuse of power instead, plenty of scope for them there.

Stanley Monkhouse
12 days ago

The episcopal participant Jeremy mentions sounds most interesting. I wonder what sort of school s/he attended. Some of the information s/he seeks might have been on tap behind the bike sheds, but much more is now readily available from a large number of outlets. So I’m told. I can only laugh, but it is truly tragic for so many people. Would it be possible, even at this early stage, to shout “Mornington Crescent”?

John Wallace
John Wallace
12 days ago

Stanley, I do love the idea of ‘Mornington Crescent’ as the panacea to close off this stuff, truly a prophetic utterance.

John Wallace
John Wallace
12 days ago

As Queen Elizabeth l said ‘ I do not want a window into men’s (sic) souls’. So wise and we need to take regard of this.The problem then was the Eucharist, now it is sexuality – but we all need to have our own positions.

Charles Clapham
11 days ago

Helen King’s observations on the paucity of history in the LLF report are significant, given (as she says) that this was the focus of one of the working groups. In my church’s book dicussion group we recently read through Alan Wilson’s book ‘More Perfect Union? Understanding Same-Sex Marriage’, and a number of participants observered that they found his treatment of the history of marriage perhaps the most interesting and enlightening part of the book. I suppose for the conservatives it is important to believe that ‘Christian marriage’ has somehow always been constant and fixed (literally, that it came down from… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
10 days ago

Charles. Helen King is right that the LLF document is has very little historical material, but it goes beyond that. There is an excellent quote by Philip Sheldrake “Who is permitted to have a history and who is not is a vital issue. Those who have no memories or story have no life.” (Spirituality and History–1991). It seems to me that even when the document does mention historical material, the description is from a conservative viewpoint that denies the possibility of LGBT+ people being actors in their own history. Just to give one example. On page 98 the document says… Read more »

Charles Clapham
10 days ago
Reply to  Simon Dawson

Thank you Simon, that’s helpful. To my mind, your comments also point to the way in which a more thoroughly grounded historical approach would reveal that change in almost every political context occurs through a process of activism, campaigning and confrontation – whether it is gay rights, the suffragettes, abolition of slavery, climate change, etc. etc. My primary theological background/education many years ago was in liberation theology – in which there was an explicit theological recognition of God’s partiality for the oppressed, and that the movement for justice has to come before the (still necessary but later) movement for reconciliation.… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
10 days ago

I totally agree Charles. The current LLF process is a bit like telling Rosa Parke that if she talks to the Montgomery Director of Transport then all will be resolved. To a certain extent the Bishops are right. Agreement and understanding only arrives with conversation. But you have the real practical problem of how do you get people in power to sit down at a table with the powerless oppressed. History tells us that it is achieved through a mixture of campaigning, activism, the courts, civil disobedience and terrorism. In my Armed Forces case above it was the law (I… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Simon Dawson
Interested Observer
Interested Observer
11 days ago

It’s very long. It’s also very, very boring. It’s roughly the length of a long, dense novel; at around 175k words, it’s up with “The Fellowship of the Ring”, Ents and bloody Tom Bombadil and all. No-one who is not already engaged will actually read it, because no-one is interested in five hundred pages of badly structured, rambling material in which it is impossible to discern what is actually being said. There’s no useful summary, no conclusion worthy of the name, just relentless waffle. Leaving aside the hideous phrase of “learning journey”, you’re told up front “Wherever you choose to… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
10 days ago

So very true, Interested Observer. Like you I have a particularly bad reaction to those ‘conversations’, apparently based on real ones among the inner circle. Since they were first added on to the Contents list to model the sorts of conversation we are all supposed to be having, I’ve been using words like ‘contrived’ and ‘forced’. They are also somehow so very Waitrose.

Such a sceptic
Such a sceptic
8 days ago

Seems to me to be little more than an expensive vanity project for the Bishops and a waste of resources. This project is from a denomination that doesn’t even recognise the equity between two traditional genders but actively discriminates to marginalise its female clergy of all ‘grades’. From that background the organisation is never, never going to change it’s view and its prejudice against all sexuality outside of a (Christian?) heterosexual married couple. Existing views are too well ingrained and earnestly held. Whilst I expect that the majority of those in the pews and many who preach to them do… Read more »

Revd Mark Bennet
Revd Mark Bennet
4 days ago

Perhaps there is a need to get the conversation away from sexuality to get a perspective on it – what would the response be if we replaced “sexuality” with “personal finances” for example, and thought about resolving money issues using the same, or a similar, approach?

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