Thinking Anglicans

LLF: over 130 General Synod members oppose “reset” and “settlement”

The Church Times reports:  Do not obstruct Synod’s decision on same-sex blessings, members say

MORE than 130 members of the General Synod have signed a letter expressing their view that the proposal of a “reset” of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process is unwise, and that talk of a “settlement” for those opposing the introduction of blessings for same-sex couples fails to honour decisions taken by the Synod.

Last week, the co-chairs of the LLF process, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, and the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, co-wrote an article for the Church Times in which they argued for a “reset” of the process to allow for “reconciliation and bridge-building” (Comment, 26 January). (On Thursday, 1 February, Dr Hartley announced that she would be standing down as as co-chair of the LLF process. Story to follow)…

The report continues:

The GSGSG letter says: “It is clear that the mind of Synod, determined by due synodical process, is to implement those things agreed in February [2023], being new pastoral guidance to replace Issues in Human Sexuality and to introduce the full Prayers of Love and Faith, including the stand-alone services. It is also clear that Synod has rejected this implementation being dependent on an agreed settlement or structural provision. . .

“Any delay in moving forward will be seen as a failure by the House of Bishops to implement votes passed in Synod and a rejection of the courtesy of Synod in welcoming your proposals. This will not reset the tone of the debate in a positive direction, neither will it build trust for any reconciliation discussions on maintaining unity.”

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Stacy
Stacy
4 months ago

I’m wondering if someone might be able to explain to me the roles, responsibilities, and decision making authority between House of Bishops, archbishops, general synod, archbishops council, even parliament? As someone from a different tradition who moved into Church of England, I find it very unclear where decision making (and associated funding) takes place, where the authority really resides. I am very aware it is not a congregational model of decision making.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Stacy
4 months ago

The sitcom ‘Rev’ features a scene in which Fr Adam Smallbone finds himself in diiscussion with a local Imam. “How does the Church of England work?” asks the Imam. “Well, it doesn’t really,” comes the reply…

Philip Groves
Philip Groves
Reply to  Stacy
4 months ago

It all works very well if we all agree. When the vote on women in the episcopacy came round for the first time the General Synod was the sticking point because of a blocking minority. Parliament got angry and responded by the gay marriage laws to embarrass the C of E. But the Archbishops and HoBs were aligned and we ran process in Synod to unblock General Synod so legislation could go through. Conservative groups have learnt. They have a bigger blocking minority and are very unlikely to go of the kind of process that we had last time, even… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
4 months ago

I wonder who will get leaned on to fill the vacancy left by Bishop Helen-Ann? It seems that the bishops are less malleable than perhaps they were previously. The archbishops have overplayed their hand.

Peter
Peter
4 months ago

Where on earth do the people seeking change think all this goes next ?

If somebody walks in the room who holds the opposite view to yours then you immediately leave the room and resign ??

If there is a call for a negotiated settlement your response is “not one inch of ground can be yielded”. ??

If that is what happens, then so be it.

It is just impossible to discern what, apart from emotion, is guiding the people who want change.

Last edited 4 months ago by Peter
Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

“It is just impossible to discern what, apart from emotion, is guiding the people who want change.”

Maybe it’s a desire to have a church that lives up to the two great commandments: to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Pat ONeill
4 months ago

I keep reading this comment and keep wanting to say something erudite in response. After two days all I have is, “Spot on.”. I don’t think I have seen anyone else encapsulate so succinctly the heart of the matter.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Kate Keates
4 months ago

Thanks, Kate. Whenever I find myself having to deal with discrimination of any kind within the church, I turn to the two great commandments.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

In some ways people who call themselves “conservative” or “orthodox” are seeking change – change in practices like knowingly ordaining clergy who are in same sex relationships, and appointing them to posts of responsibility, which have been part of church culture for longer than I have been alive. Attempts to change church culture by dictat and through guidance and advice (Issues in Human Sexuality, for example) have failed. Changing culture is not about passing resolutions or legislating or winning votes and it won’t happen by those means.. At the moment our church documents do not tell the truth about who… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

Peter. He hasn’t just walked into a room with an opposite view. There are plenty opposite views in the room already. He was, for some incomprehensible reason, appointed as a theological adviser to senior church leaders he holds in such disdain he has only recently condemned as wolves and false teachers. Did you read his blog post? It is rant. “not one inch of ground can be yielded” describes his position very well.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
4 months ago

Where does that leave us, David ?

The bishop of London, at Synod in November, inferred that the use of the term “differentiation” by conservatives associated them with the Apartheid regime.

Can conservatives now demand that she is excluded from all further involvement. ??

Again and again there is an insistence that different rules apply to conservatives.

It is completely unworkable. If the bishop of Newcastle cannot even bring herself to accept this one chap in some marginal role, it is pure fantasy to think any kind of constructive settlement discussion is possible.

NJW
NJW
Reply to  Peter
4 months ago

If it were a marginal post that might be fine. However the secretary to the commission, as its main officer, holds significant power and influence over its working. I am far from opposed to some form of settlement or accommodation, but can see how having someone with such strongly expressed recent views may not be the wisest choice for a such role. Perhaps the greater problem this exposes is that the proponents at both ends of the current debate have completely squeezed out anyone with a ‘middle’ position by their respective refusals to accommodate other opinions. (I, for example, would… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
4 months ago

Not all of us have a strong faith. And for people like me whose faith hangs by a thread we really need the support of our fellow Christians especially our clergy. I constantly wonder what I am doing in a church whose Archbishop has such a very different idea of right and wrong to my own. There is terrible deliberately induced suffering in Gaza and Archbishop Welby is silent. He apparently thinks an oath of loyalty to a very morally flawed king is more important. I live in Berlin and today I find that our bishop Robert Innes, has appointed… Read more »

Philip Groves
Philip Groves
Reply to  David Hawkins
4 months ago

David, in October Archbishop Justin called for a ceasefire – not a pause – in Israel Palestine and highlighted the deaths in the West Bank as well as Gaza. He has not changed his tune, but no-one is listening. Israel’s government is not listening to the US government so he is not alone in being ignored. He is working with the Archbishop of Jerusalem and seeking to give voice to Palestinian Anglicans – enabling the Archbishop to address General Synod. He has also spoken clearly and directly against the Rwanda policy. He does challenge the UK government. A friend with… Read more »

Aljbri
Aljbri
Reply to  Philip Groves
4 months ago

Thank you for this. Emotions can run high on this site and we need to be sure of our facts before judging or indeed opining. Life is quite bad enough without standing on shaky assumptions.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Philip Groves
4 months ago

Re Welby, statements on 7 and 15 October and 13 November. Current toll in excess of 27,000 (not including at least 10,000 missing persons, probably buried in rubble) and at least 66,000 wounded: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/live-updates-death-toll-gaza-passes-27000-south-106861226. Famine is now in progress. In view of the ICJ orders, it would be useful to know if there has been any communication by the Church of England to HMG noting Art. III (e) of the 1948 Convention. HRW has been unequiovocal about this: https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/12/12/letter-uk-government-calling-immediate-halt-uk-arms-transfers-government-israel (in the context of UK signals support: https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/uk-military-aircraft-have-provided-surveillance-support-to-israel/?cf-view). “Israel’s government is not listening to the US government so he is not… Read more »

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

Thanks for these links. Whatever Welby has said, the only official CoE statement on Gaza is the HoB’s statement in late October, which was seriously deficient. I’ll be proposing a motion at Ely diocesan synod in March calling on the HoB to revisit it urgently. The Anglican hierarchy in the area, the ones Welby meets, have to be very careful what they say publicly. Ordinary clergy and parishioners are furious at the weakness of CoE statements.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Jonathan Chaplin
4 months ago

Many thanks, Dr Chaplin. I would have thought that there should have been a prompt statement by the Church following the ICJ decision or, indeed, any statement since November. What is surprising (or perhaps not) about the response of HMG to that decision was that it was almost immediately discounted, and ministers (who are at risk of personal liability) stated that they disagreed with it. I suppose there must be some sort of difference between the much-touted ‘rules based international order’ and the actual legal international order (which the UK has also disregarded in 2019 with respect to the ICJ… Read more »

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

Thanks. Amen to all that. The CofE is going to look back on this silence with great shame.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Jonathan Chaplin
4 months ago

I should add that there probably ought also to be some sort of statement about the UNRWA allegations and decisions made by certain Western powers, which are themselves contestable as well as being consequential, and about the increasing – and, for me, somewhat alarming – incidences of war talk (even outright war-mongering) in much of the British media. These tendencies could, in time, prove to be self-fulfilling.

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

Yes indeed. UNRWA has taken decisive action in response to these allegations which, note, have come solely from Israeli intelligence sources and are unverified. The timing, leading UNRWA to launch their investigation on same day as ICJ ruling, is suspicious too. But when Palestinians make unverified allegations, they get ignored by media and govts.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Philip Groves
4 months ago

Thank you for that, Philip. Unhappily I, like many others, have to rely on the BBC for my news input on these matters – and sadly Justin Welby’s efforts appear to have gone almost completely unreported. Equally sadly, whatever we say wil be wasted because noone, particularly out at the sharp end, where it matters, are actually listening. Gaza goes back a long, long way, easily a century, and neither Israel or the various Palestinian groups are showing much in the way of humanity towards one another. The problem is that each side sees tolerance or forebearance by the other… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Hawkins
4 months ago

It confuses me that all the talk of ceasefire ignores the actions of Hamas, not only on October 7, 2023, but over the past two decades. Hamas refuses to renounce violence and insists on the destruction of Israel and the end of any Jewish settlement anywhere west of the Jordan River.

Why is it that only Israel is condemned?

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  Pat ONeill
4 months ago

But it does not ignore it at all. Almost everyone condemns the Hamas attacks on 7 October and before as war crimes. But many are not prepared to condemn Israel’s extremely disproportionate response as war crimes when they palpably are. Why not? And this view of Hamas is out of date, relying on a reading of its 1988 charter, which has long been superseded. They do not seek to destroy Israel or Jews but to establish a Palestinian state. They know they cannot eliminate Israel and that they have to find a settlement. Yes they are committed to violent resistance… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Pat ONeill
4 months ago

I wonder if you support the Good Friday Agreement Pat O’Neill ? It had almost universal support in Western Europe. The Good Friday Agreement rejected a sectarian Protestant State in Northern Ireland and said that Northern Ireland should be for all its citizens Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic and Protestant. But despite this we support a sectarian Jewish state in the Middle East, a state that only exists because 85 percent of the indigenous population were ethnically cleansed in 1948. If you don’t understand what happened in 1948 you cannot make sense of what is happening in Gaza today. I can… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Pat ONeill
4 months ago

Nobody is endorsing the actions of Hamas so there is no need for everyone to repeat their mutual disgust at their actions.

Israel, however, inexplicably continues to have extensive support when it has killed more Palestinians in 4 months than Hamas has killed Israelis in its entire existence. Genocidal rhetoric is bad, but not nearly as bad as actual mass murder. Israel also has to bear some responsibility for encouraging the growth of Hamas; it makes a better “villain” than the PLO and thus makes it easier to justify Likud’s own “between the river and the sea” goals.

David Smith
David Smith
4 months ago

Has the text of the letter been published?

Do we know to whom it was addressed and who signed it?

Gary Paul Gilbert
Gary Paul Gilbert
Reply to  David Smith
4 months ago

As an American Episcopalian, I don’t understand why the C of E continues to discriminate against same-sex couples when the larger society has moved on. What century is this? How very disappointing! Gary Paul Gilbert

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