Thinking Anglicans

LLF: A Public Letter on behalf of Inclusive Organisations

This letter was recently published on the websites of several inclusive organisations, see list of signatories at the end.

A Public Letter on behalf of Inclusive Organisations to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of London and Truro as co-chairs of the LLF implementation process 11th July 2023

Dear Archbishops and Bishops,

We write in response to the growing campaign by some leaders and bishops in the Church of England to delay and obstruct the progress of the Living in Love & Faith journey by asking for the Prayers of Love and Faith to be approved under Canon B2, requiring two-thirds majorities in all three houses of the General Synod.

Resistance to LLF

We are saddened that this campaign indicates, above all, the failure of many in the Church to engage fully in the LLF journey in which we have participated together for the last six years, and into which so much valuable theological and pastoral reflection has been poured. This is not, of course, an accidental failure, when groups like the Church of England Evangelical Council have actively discouraged churches from making use of the LLF resources. However, it appears clear to us (and some have been told directly by conservative colleagues) that the conservative view of marriage and sex was very fully represented throughout the LLF process, and we have sought to engage with it in good faith…

Read the full text of the Letter here. 

Andrew Goddard  subsequently published this response.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

32 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Hawkins
David Hawkins
1 year ago

I challenge Andrew Goddard (or his supporters) to answer directly the following two questions. 1.Christians are united in believing in a Loving God. What sort of Loving God would create human beings with a God given need to sexually love someone of their own gender and then deny them the right to express that love in a physical way ? Wouldn’t in fact this “God” be rather a sadist ? Isn’t the fundamental Christian belief in a God who loves us rather more important than what fallible human beings wrote in Scripture thousands of years ago ? 2.You write “To… Read more »

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

David Hawkins, Your 1. is spot on. Thank you. The only conclusion I can come up with is that, on this and many other issues, some people want an exclusive God, not an inclusive one. Decades ago, I had a conversation with a minister from a conservative Christian denomination, and while I was saddened but not surprised at his rejection that God might allow non-Christians into Heaven (would a loving God really reject out of hand 3 out of every 4 people on the planet?), I was floored by the number of Christian denominations who failed to meet the cut,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
Tim
Tim
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
11 months ago

I think the questions are answered within the LLF material in detail. But I can offer a brief outline to 1.. [I’m not sure I am an Andrew supporter …. also I don’t “think” I align with his views – – but I think I do understand where he’s coming from] 1) I think the question is based on a few assumptions – for example that everyone agrees that it is a “God given need to sexually love someone of their own gender”. I think it is fairly universally agreed that within oneself the desires/”needs” feel strong and are not… Read more »

Steve T
Steve T
Reply to  Tim
11 months ago

Furthermore, The ones you describe attempting to stop the sibling from burning his poor hand on the gas stove, are also attempting to prevent the whole house from burning down around them. But the young-un just won’t see – can’t see. What should they do to protect the house and the reputation / interests of the parent who left them in charge of his house?

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve T
Tim
Tim
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

Question 2 seems to be asking why issue X is more important than issue Y – why are you splitting on issue Y.

I think this could be turned around to “why don’t you split on the fact that some bishops don’t accept women priests or bishops – – why is inclusion of gay-men more important then women, is this some form of sexism?”
I don’t think trying to answer that question would really help us in this – – –

I have offered thoughts to 1-below

Mark Andiam
Mark Andiam
Reply to  Tim
11 months ago

I appreciate you are trying to offer a helpful analogy but I don’t think comparing the desire to marry to playing with a toy is it

Tim
Tim
Reply to  Mark Andiam
11 months ago

[I think my two answers got posted the wrong way round – and you’re trying to respond to my q1-thoughts … so responding based on that]. So – ‘a toy’ not helpful. yes and no. – – it’s certainly not the first choice for teaching on sexuality. But then it quickly becomes problematic if using the parent-child relationship as a picture of God->us — and not wanting to sexualise children. Also it was getting a bit confusing adding lots of people into the family [two older siblings, plus younger child plus parent] – so adding in the partner you want… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

The sort of loving God who would create human beings to suffer for all eternity the pains and torments of hell?

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  T Pott
11 months ago

If Hell exists you go there because of the choices you make in your life. Nobody has to go to hell.
Being Gay is not a choice.
Why would a loving God want to deny Gay people the right to express their love sexually ?
My objection to predestination is similar. Why would a loving God create human beings predestined to go to Hell ?
Such a God would be a sadist.

Tim
Tim
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

“Being Gay is not a choice. Why would a loving God want to deny Gay people the right to express their love sexually ?” I think there is agreement on the first part – – i.e. being Gay is not a choice. But the second part – – you imply that any desire someone has must be something we should have the right to express. I don’t think you quite mean that – “any desire” – but you certainly assume that someone it’s self-evident that “gay desire” is Godly. Whereas I would say a conservative assumes this is one of… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Tim
11 months ago

From my experience, there are a lot of Christians, and denominations to support them, who definitely see Christianity and (the right) belief in Jesus of Nazareth as a ticket to Heaven. a gold-inlaid Heaven stuffed with diamonds and rubies for some reason, even though if there is a Heaven, its inhabitants are non-material beings for whom precious metals and stones should have no meaning. And, in my opinion, these same Christians definitely see not following Christianity in the right way as the road to Hell. Their God is not my God and their ways I want no part of. “This… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

Amen!
It always amazes/amuses me that most people who believe in predestination think God has already reserved a first-class seat to Heaven for them. It’s those other people who will miss the transport.

Mark Andiam
Mark Andiam
Reply to  T Pott
11 months ago

Thank you for this — it helps to confirm that while there is one God, we worship different gods. Good luck with yours…

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Mark Andiam
11 months ago

I did not say that was my conception. Hence my question mark. But yes I do agree with you there are such vastly different concepts.

Mark Andiam
Mark Andiam
Reply to  T Pott
11 months ago

Thank you, and please accept my apologies — it did occur to me after I had responded to your comment that it might have been ironic. But given that you were representing a point of view, I meant what I said in that regard. I try to understand other points of view, especially within the Church of England, but when these perspectives become personally condemnatory and dismissive, I eventually react… Anglicanism was designed to prevent schism, and I truly value the conceptual diversity and thus freedom that has produced, for the good of all, but it seems we may be… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

Of course to a goodly number of Anglicans, a belief in transubstantiation and the acceptance of equal marriage are both deeply held parts of their faith.
Why do some people get so worked up about how others use their wobbly bits to express their love for an other? Heterosexual sex is hardly a spectator sport either.

Last edited 11 months ago by Struggling Anglican
David Rowett
1 year ago

This suggestion of sand being thrown into the wheels casts light on a question at a meeting recently which came from a member of an evangelical parish church. He wished to know whether there was a mechanism for recording the number of people leaving the CofE because of the LLF decision. (It was put to him that even if such a head-count were possible, it would be rather skewed if it did not include those who were expressing an interest in church membership because of LLF (nor, indeed a tally of those who’d left the Church because of our foot-dragging)).… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  David Rowett
11 months ago

Given the C of E isn’t a membership church like some others , it has very fuzzy “borders”. People join, leave, rejoin etc for all sorts of reasons and often at different times of life.

David Rowett
Reply to  Perry Butler
11 months ago

The question got very short shrift from the chair of the meeting on precisely those methodological grounds, (and also on the grounds that we ‘just don’t do that’). If it was an attempt to stir, the questioner was probably taken aback by the resistance he encountered from the meeting. Perhaps concerningly it was the second of two questions put forward, the first of which seemed at first to be entirely unconnected with LLF, but which I now suspect was a softening-up exercise, raising the spectre of extra money being needed from the parishes to sustain ministry (implicitum ‘and if we… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  David Rowett
11 months ago

The fact we now have many clergy in the C of E who seem to believe the way forward is to run their parishes as exclusive “gathered “congregations (not bothering e.g. with occasional offices for “non members” is a significant reason for its internal tensions and in my opinion it’s accelerating decline. In 10 years time we will see the results…I feel a lot seems to have changed in the 12 yes since I retired. Icabod!

David Rowett
Reply to  Perry Butler
11 months ago

It’s certainly a very different ecclesiological model with which such churches work.

(Lack-of-Charity warning re: the following) Sometimes reminds me of the C4 Circumcellion movement – you, know, Donatism with knobs on, so keen on being the persecuted, righteous and purified Church that they had to go round provoking opposition and hostility to prove their point…..

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 year ago

Can I ask who Andrew Goddard is? Does he represent a particular group or faction in the church?

Stanley Monkhouse
11 months ago

There’s gonna be a lot of people, it seems, who when they arrive in heaven will say “Lord, I thank you that I am not like other people”. They’ll be in club class like on the Holyhead-Dublin ferries with sea views, unlimited canapés and cheap plonk. That’s what religion is for, isn’t it – nectar points for preferential treatment in the afterlife?

Rich
Rich
11 months ago
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

Hmmm… that’s not actually for CEEC to decide. It’s up to the Church of England ‘in toto’ to decide, through General Synod. One part of the National Church does not get to introduce new structures, or cross diocesan borders for confirmations, without the prior consent of the Church as a whole. If you’re IN the Church, you follow the Church’s agreed governance. LGBT people have been having to do that for years. It’s the same for CEEC. They need to comply with the way forward that the Church as a whole decides through General Synod. What they can try to… Read more »

Gerald Beauchamp
Gerald Beauchamp
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

I wonder if evangelicals who are taking this line are repeating the error made by the catholic movement over the ordination of women.  My experience was that as the debate developed the atmosphere soured. Church life became less attractive.  Setting up alternative episcopal oversight has been both expensive and complicated. Talk about mission in recent recents has sounded hollow. Who wants to join a group that is arguing about an issue that I think most people take for granted i.e. that women should be treated the same as men? By extension it’s now clear that everyone has a right to… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

That a significant part of Evangelical Anglicanism in the UK has become a highly mobilised, ‘oppositional’ movement in the church is no secret. The reasons are complex though and go much deeper than those presented – simple ‘biblical’ opposition to same-sex relationships. This is a tradition with its own, longer-term, internal tensions. Those interested in exploring this will find a new book very insightful. In ‘Defusing the sexuality debate – the Anglican Evangelical culture war’, Mark Vasey-Saunders explores why the current disagreements are so intractable and makes the case that conflicts over sexuality are symbolic of deeper disagreements and anxieties over… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
11 months ago

Thank you David, that is a very helpful comment. I have always wondered how a good psychotherapist or psychologist wold analyse this issue, rather than a theologist. How does somebody with an deep evangelical mindset cope with the modern world (or, more accurately, postmodern world) and with the issues of cognitive dissonance that it brings up. How do you cope with the anxiety when the fundamental truths you have been brought up to believe appear to weaken and crumble bit by bit? Rather than work on your own faith, you cope with the anxiety and stress by projecting the fault… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Simon Dawson
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Simon Dawson
11 months ago

Uncle Screwtape in the Lowerachy of Hell must be greatly relieved that the outbreak of unity on this site following the sacking of Jasvinder and Steve is now safely over and normal service is resumed. The news items which have been posted since Wednesday have been sad and bleak- racism within congregations going unchallenged, some Evangelicals delighted at being able to discriminate against those who are gay and a very slow burn over the issue of justice and recompense for survivors of abuse despite the excellent news of the appointment of Alexis Jay’s appointment . There can be small wonder… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

What do people make of this? Do they think it has much traction? And how much support ?

32
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x