Thinking Anglicans

LLF Next Steps Group Meeting on 29th September 2021

Press release from the Church of England

LLF Next Steps Group Meeting on 29th September 2021
14/10/2021

The Next Steps Group began the meeting by considering how to ensure widest possible engagement with the LLF resources across the range of demographics, especially including young people.

The group reviewed a set of resources for leading groups with young people which have now been published on the LLF Learning Hub.

The importance of encouraging all participants to share their experience and learning through the LLF online questionnaire and by means of creative responses was stressed. LLF Advocates were encouraged to continue to share good practice across dioceses.

The group noted the need to get three key messages across:
the LLF resources are for and about everyone; it is a genuinely open-ended opportunity for the whole church to contribute to the Church’s discernment about questions relating to identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage; the resources are flexible and should be adapted to different contexts at a time and in a way that is appropriate for them. The gathering of feedback will close on 30th April 2022.

It was agreed to reschedule publication of the resource, ‘The Gift of the Church’ to September 2022, when it will sit alongside the findings of the listening process as the process of discernment begins. The Next Steps Group will work together with the Faith and Order Commission on this task, and involve others as discussed at previous meetings.

The Group agreed that it would be important to introduce new members of General Synod to the LLF journey as part of their induction in November 2021.

The meeting ended in prayer.

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Helen King
Helen King
7 months ago

Does anyone know what this new ‘resource’ is?
Also, if someone tells me something ‘genuinely is’, that tends to make me suspect it isn’t.

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Helen King
7 months ago

Apparently the answer is “‘The Gift of the Church’ will be an accessible learning resource that supplements the LLF Book and encourages theological reflection across the church about what it means to be church in the light of the LLF process and the questions it raises. It also aims to ensure that the work of discernment and decision-making is biblically, theologically and experientially grounded in what it means to be church.”

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Helen King
7 months ago

I can tell you what it feels to be ‘experientially grounded in what it means to be’ lesbian in an organisation that says my marriage to my wife is sinful in the eyes of God and that I should have remained celibate all my life… Good grief… 50 years of talk and still the church says my tender love is sin… Surely the talking has to end sometime in action? If not, then local grassroots church communities will have to defy this endless endless blah blah blah. The status quo is an insult to my wife and the innocence and… Read more »

Shamus
Shamus
7 months ago

Do we know how long the “process of discernment” lasts? Another report after that deeply to ponder for another year or two, I’m guessing. Hoping to live long enough for some meaningful decisions and change, but feeling chances are not good.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Shamus
7 months ago

I believe that the “process of discernment” is as long as the “period of reception”.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Shamus
7 months ago

According to the LLF’s own website the process started in 2017, and if the Next Steps discernment process starts in late 2022 it probably won’t be finished until late 2023, or even 2024 with a report to Synod.

So that’s at least seven years for the process. The same time as it took NASA to to put a man on the moon. I think the difference is not the complexity of the process but the sense of urgency with which it is approached.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Dawson
7 months ago

Actualyl the report is likely to go to the House of Bishops and they will draft something for Synod so add another year.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kate
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Simon Dawson
7 months ago

Or, for another comparison, Pope Francis’ recently launched synodical consultation programme is scheduled to be completed within two years, despite including every diocese worldwide

Fr Andrew Welsby
Fr Andrew Welsby
7 months ago

Blah, blah, blah…..

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Fr Andrew Welsby
7 months ago

I agree: blah, blah, blah…..

Just substitute human sexuality for climate change, and it’s such a striking parallel

notconvinced
notconvinced
7 months ago

The long grass beckons …

Kate
Kate
7 months ago

The Next Steps Group recognised the urgency of updating teaching to prohibit actions which might be considered conversion therapy
 
No, not even that.

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
7 months ago

I have yet to meet anyone who thinks LLF is anything but a waste of time and money. Those who favour LGBT+ inclusion have already made up their minds, those who oppose it likewise. The remainder simply don’t care enough to voice an opinion.

Stanley Monkhouse
7 months ago

LLF and involving young people. Those young people likely to know and care about LLF are those already involved in church life. In my experience, they tend to be more censorious and conservative than older people and than their contemporaries who are blissfully ignorant of church. They are unlikely to be representative of the wide spread of opinion of young people as a whole. In order to address this, I propose the establishment of a working group that would go into the highways and byways where non-church young people are likely to be found in order to obtain a truly… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
7 months ago

Stan, I’m sure you’ll agree that it would be wise to put LLF on pause whilst your proposal goes through a rigorous consultation exercise with partners and stakeholders. This would be an important work-stream going forward and I think it needs a transition enabler with great skill to oversee this. It would be sensible for the Archbishops’ Council to appoint a firm of headhunters to find someone of the necessary calibre to coordinate the consultation exercise. The post warrants a commensurate remuneration package of at least £100k. Thank you as ever for your blue sky thinking – feedback is always… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Fr Dean
7 months ago

Indeed Fr Dean. Your modifications make perfect sense.

mikethecanon
mikethecanon
7 months ago

Advertisement: Church of England seeks group of young LGBT+ people to share their experiences and get emotionally chewed up like the adults before them. Safeguarding anybody? Will this be a ‘safe’ place for them to be? All for the sake of helping us out of being a ‘one issue religion’.

Strannik
Strannik
7 months ago

I didn’t know what LLF was, so checked it in the urban dictionary
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=llf

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Strannik
7 months ago

Thanks, Strannik! My husband always refers to it as Living in Lies and Falsehood.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Helen King
7 months ago

And may I ask how you as a member of the LLF project respond when he says that ? Who is lying? Has he actually read the stories and watched the videos of those who have been willing to
share there?

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  David Runcorn
7 months ago

He is referring to the current situation of candidates for selection and those who have been ordained (including bishops) being encouraged not to be honest about their sexuality. He often says “How can anyone think being gay is a choice? Why would anyone choose to be treated like this in the church and the world?” Neither of us feels that LLF helps here. While it may be reassuring for people to see a video of someone else who’s in their situation, coming out to an LLF course group and being ‘the gay one’ in that group is another matter. (He… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Helen King
7 months ago

Thank you for clarifying. I agree re ordination candidates but think that that is where the words ‘lies’ and ‘falsehood’ belong, not LLF which I think is a very honourable attempt to take the broader debate forward and deserves more gratitude than it tends to get.

Ann Reddecliffe
Ann Reddecliffe
7 months ago

The new youth LLF course materials can be accessed and downloaded at Course: Leading an LLF learning group (churchofengland.org)

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
7 months ago

This is behind a paywall. You must register and “cookies must be enabled in your browser”. There may be good reasons, but they aren’t readily apparent to me. What is happening to the C of E?

Andy Gr
Andy Gr
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
7 months ago

Registering is free, and gives you access to all the llf materials.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Andy Gr
7 months ago

Thank you. I made the mistake of omitting inverted commas around ‘paywall’. Access to the material is available free of charge, but only on condition of agreeing to very stringent data protection provisions and acceptance of ‘cookies’. The former appeared to me to be more concerned with protecting the C of E than the data subject. No problem with either if one is at the stage of committing to apply for a job or to join a project – but hardly appropriate for merely wishing to look at a document such as a prospectus or a job description.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
7 months ago

It’s like the Palestine Peace Process: a lot of Process, nihil Peace.

Susannah Clark
7 months ago

What I see here is all talk and no action. And I’m not referring to the bishops. If you believe with strong conscience that gay and lesbian relationships are as precious and legitimate as straight ones, and yet you comply with an oppressive status quo, then the problem is your own failure to take responsibility for your own conscience, and everything you owe your community. At least my priest was willing to let us have a wedding service, openly and publicly, because he said he could do no other. He defied the oppression. (We had to get a piece of… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Susannah Clark
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Susannah Clark
7 months ago

Susannah much of what you suggest would get any clerk in Holy Orders on a CDM. If you’ve followed any of the posts about the CDM you’ll have picked up how ruthlessly the bishops pursue clergy using this pernicious legislation. Colin Coward has posted articles about how Fr Robert Thompson has been hounded with a CDM for advocating for a lesbian evangelical. An upheld CDM can leave leave a cleric homeless and jobless.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Fr Dean
7 months ago

Father Dean, that is the threat that is used to stop people exercising their consciences. It works effectively to dissuade individual priests, who on their own can be singled out. But that’s exactly how the central operation works – by threat of sanction. This is why my suggestion is that you build a network of inclusive churches – and run the proposal to see if 100, 200, 300 would subscribe – to all take a stand for decency from the same date, with the same published statements, an associated media campaign, and open, public blessing services of gay/lesbian marriages from… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
7 months ago

The three key messages are part of the problem. The resources are not about everyone – at least that is not how they are being used. LLF has focussed itself on LGBTIQ+ people – everyone else is not being invited to look at heterosexuality as part of a spectrum. It is assumed as a test for everything else to be measured by – so not actually about everyone but about some people. Genuinely open ended can mean never ending so a nice get out of not actually deciding anything other than business as usual. Adapting the resources to fit different… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Marise Hargreaves
7 months ago

Thank you. I agree with your call for inclusive churches to get on and make it happen – as de facto reality – in the practice and published statements of local church communities, working together in a network, providing services of blessing and celebration that are as near to marriage services as possible within the current legal framework. Everything except the legal piece of paper is possible. Each local church community should just act conscientiously, because they owe that to their local community, they owe it to LGBT people, and their straight friends, relatives, colleagues. They know that harm, right… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Susannah Clark
7 months ago

Those who oppose equality have networked and taken bold action to threaten, cajole and get people into key positions. Everyone else wrings their hands and retreats behind their doors. A few people step out and act – I’m happy you had a bold and encouraging church that took action. It is time for those supporting inclusion to network and organise. Those on high will simply talk and push the can into the next 50yrs. No one should underestimate the power base at work to stop inclusion. It really is time for a co ordinated push back to defend the gospel… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Marise Hargreaves
7 months ago

It is not true that LLF focusses entirely on LGBTIQ+ people. It is true that it foregrounds some LGBTIQ+ stories to an unrepresentative extent. But bear in mind that some of these stories are relatively rare and that many people who engage with the material are hearing them for the first time. That opening up of a world of experience to people who have never contemplated it is an important dynamic. To give a heterosexual example, I used the LLF film of Elaine and Alan (heterosexual) the other day with a group, and suggested they might think about whether it… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Mark Bennet
7 months ago

LLF does presume heterosexuality is the norm all else is measured by. This is the belief of the church. Unless there is a real engagement with the possibility that might not be so we simply go around in circles. Some of the stories may be rare – only because people don’t put their information out there within the church. Hopefully your work as an advocate does help move people from where they are. The overall picture is things are polarised and it may be the squeezed middle that is hearing and seeing what you are working towards. Those of us… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Mark Bennet
7 months ago

Mark, kudos to you for making the effort to use LLF materials and aspiring for changes in people’s understanding. I participated in LLF too, being interviewed at Church House in a very intense session. The frustration I feel is that all we (LGBT+ people) do is try to explain, try to reason, try to open up and share, again and again. And yes, hopefully some people (maybe many) will feel they have more understanding of some of the issues as a result. But the central issue for lesbian and gay couples in the Church is that their relationships are theologically… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Susannah Clark
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