Thinking Anglicans

Membership of LLF groups announced

The Church of England issued the press release below yesterday. The Church Times has a report with further information: New LLF-group members to gather in hotel for talks.

Membership of LLF groups announced
08/05/2024

Three working groups will include bishops and members of General Synod

Following an update last month on the membership of the Living in Love and Faith Project Board, membership of the three working groups has now been confirmed.

The three working groups are looking at specific questions connected to implementation of the Prayers of Love and Faith, and the pastoral guidance and pastoral reassurance accompanying this.

The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, the Lead Bishop for the LLF process, said: “I am hugely grateful on to all the members of the working groups for offering their time, energy and broad experience to supporting this process.

“I know that this comes at some cost for many people but I am confident that these groups will be fruitful both in terms of good relationships, and that they will enable us to make real progress in the LLF work.”

The groups will feed into the Programme Board, helping to shape recommendations to be presented for consideration at the House and College of Bishops ahead of bringing an outline proposal to the July meeting of the General Synod.

The group membership, which includes bishops and members of the General Synod, is as follows:

Pastoral Guidance

  • +Sam Corley
  • +Paul Davies
  • Neill Burgess
  • Ben Fulford (FAOC)
  • Rachel Mann (FAOC)
  • Jo Winn-Smith
  • Lis Goddard
  • David Hermitt
  • Douglas Dettmer
  • Nick Land
  • Neil Patterson
  • Luke Irvine-Capel

Prayers of Love and Faith

  • +Ruth Worsley
  • +Michael Ipgrave (FAOC/ LitCom)
  • Malcolm Chamberlain
  • Sammi Tooze (LitCom)
  • Mike Tufnell
  • Mark Miller
  • Rachel Firth
  • Adam Gaunt
  • Kenson Li
  • Julie Withers

Pastoral provision

  • +Martyn Snow
  • +Eleanor Sanderson
  • +Graham Tomlin (FAOC)
  • Joe Hawes
  • John Dunnett
  • Tom Middleton
  • Sally Gaze
  • Sam Wilson
  • Julie Dziegiel
  • Sean Doherty
  • Rosemary Wilson
  • Nikki Groarke

LitCom: Liturgical Commission
FAOC: Faith and Order Commission

The groups will be supported by staff from the National Church Institutions (NCIs).

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Angusian
Angusian
9 days ago

One can only wish these good people well as they struggle through the confusion already created by a discredited process!

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
9 days ago

What happens if Synod votes down the output from these groups?

Nic T
Nic T
Reply to  Kate Keates
8 days ago

The groups are overwhelmingly formed of Synod members, including many in good standing within the various fringe groups on Synod. If they genuinely can find some common ground then it has a good chance within Synod.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Nic T
7 days ago

Forming them mainly from Synod members makes sense in that regard but perhaps not in terms of extending input “beyond the usual suspects”.

Chris
Chris
9 days ago

Oh Lord. Round and round we go. Death by subcommittee, anyone?

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
9 days ago

“The groups will be supported by staff from the National Church Institutions (NCIs).”
I sincerely hope this doesn’t mean William Nye.
But the dreadful mid Atlantic management speak in this paragraph doesn’t fill me confidence.
“The groups will feed into the Programme Board, helping to shape recommendations to be presented for consideration at the House and College of Bishops ahead of bringing an outline proposal to the July meeting of the General Synod.”

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
9 days ago

Yawn.

Shamus
Shamus
8 days ago

I suppose any outline proposals from these groups will need another lot of sub committees to consider them. Those findings will come to the Feb Synod, and require further consideration by the House of Bishops, who will need to commission a further independent report. The Report will need debating by the Synod in 2026… and so on and so on.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Shamus
8 days ago

Big fleas have little fleas on their backs to bite’s,
And little fleas have littler fleas, and so ad infinitum …

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 days ago

Sorry about the typo – caught by auto- incorrect- the end of the first line is of course ‘bite’m’

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
8 days ago

The deputy head at my school, God rest his soul, was fond of that saying. Where Susanna used ‘littler’ he used ‘lesser’. According to Wikipedia the original form by Augustus de Morgan (of which I was previously unaware) also used ‘lesser’. Go to:

Siphonaptera (poem) – Wikipedia

for more information.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Clifford Jones
6 days ago

Thank- you . That’s so interesting- I’d never thought of looking it up! My father- who by now would be about 112 – regularly used it to stop what he viewed as circular arguments , so the version I wrote was just family oral tradition…. Though my father did once when I asked him where it came from attribute it to Jonathan Swift – which in a roundabout way I suppose it is. I also didn’t know about Augustus de Morgan as I am not a mathematician- but how interesting that his son was the artist William who I do… Read more »

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
6 days ago

Thank you Susanna. Swift was of course in Holy Orders, and was Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. He is on record as having said ‘Burn everything English except their coal’, at time when coal was being exported from England to Ireland. More details in:

Jones J.C. ‘Combustion in Pre-Industrial English Literature’ Ventus Publishing, Frederiksberg  (2016).

which is accessible free of charge on:

onhttps://bookboon.com/en/combustion-in-pre-industrial-english-literature-ebook?mediaType=ebook

My father would have been 109.

Tim Chesterton
8 days ago

I see a few names on these lists from our Inclusive Evangelicals group. Thanks to them particularly for agreeing to let their names stand for what will likely be a rough ride.

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
8 days ago

An important part of these LLF structures is the Programme Board:

The groups will feed into the Programme Board, helping to shape recommendations to be presented for consideration at the House and College of Bishops ahead of bringing an outline proposal to the July meeting of the General Synod.’

The membership for the Programme Board and its brief is here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/media/press-releases/llf-programme-board-update

My understanding is that this list is out of date and that there are additional members. It would be good to have an up to date membership list, if that is the case.

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Judith Maltby
8 days ago

My understanding is that the ‘further member to be appointed’ in the press release on the Programme Board linked to by Judith Maltby is the Bishop of Sheffield. I assume it’s just an oversight that the updated Programme Board list was omitted when the membership of the three groups was announced

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Judith Maltby
8 days ago

Thanks, Judith. It would also be good to have some greater clarity around who is supposedly representing whom on these groups. The people most directly affected by these deliberations are gay and lesbian Christians in committed relationships. It seems important to me that each group should include at least one of each. And no, that mythical creature the LGBTQUIA ‘person’ does not tick that box.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
5 days ago

Sorry about the late response, but I have been away travelling. You have raised an important question here. Who represents whom? I have been wondering about the comment from a few months ago about finding people for these groups who were “not the usual suspects”. That made me wonder if in the first round of talks they were seen to fail because too many people made too many red line demands. So for this next round of talks we will exclude those people and find others who might be more willing to compromise. But who are those others? And what… Read more »

Susannah Clark
7 days ago

“The three working groups are looking at specific questions connected to implementation of the Prayers of Love and Faith…” Yes, but what about the imperative: the right of gay and lesbian couples to be married in their parish churches, the same as straight couples? People seem to be side-tracked into talks and talks and more talks about Blessings. Blessings are not the issue. Marriage is. Gay people carry the burden of other people’s theology. There is always a risk that talking (and the process itself) just extends and delays the implementation of gay marriage for years to come, leaving us… Read more »

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Susannah Clark
7 days ago

Thank you. Well said. The time for talk is over. “Marry everyone or marry no one”.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
6 days ago

Oh come on, I’m liberal as they come but even you must draw the line somewhere: incest? what degree of affinity? arranged weddings? polygamy? I don’t want the church to marry everyone or none

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Lorenzo
6 days ago

Lorenzo, I think you know what Lottie was referring to: it seems fairly obvious that she was proposing that either gay couples should be married in church, the same as straight ones; or legal marriage ceremonies should only be carried out by the state, if the Church insisted on continuing to discriminate between the two. It is actually a law change that could be implemented by Parliament if the Church fails to take action and just carries on talking ad infinitum.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 days ago

Actually Lorenzo has a point. Once the definition of marriage is changed to accommodate one group very soon another group will want the definition changed to suit them in the pursuit of equal marriage. Marriages between three people already take place in the USA.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

I follow American marriage law quite closely. I am virtually certain no American state authorizes the marriage of three people. Indeed, I know of no state legislature where a marriage between three people has been seriously contemplated or any bill authorizing it has even been introduced.

If you have evidence to the contrary, I would be happy to hear about it. Otherwise, I assume that this is based on American far-right media’s “alternative facts.”

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

But surely marriages between three people have good biblical precedent. One thinks of Jacob and his two wives.

And David compared his relationship with Jonathan to marriage.

It seems to me that the Christian insistence on one man and one woman for life probably developed more from secular patriarchal desires to control inheritance and property then the desire to follow biblical precedent.

Even conservative African Christian leaders are beginning to assert the right for African churches to accept polygamy as being culturally appropriate.

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

I don’t think, in 2024, it should need saying that incest is abuse. This is a hard fact; it is not a philosophical point of debate. I really didn’t expect to see points of debate like this from the early 2000s rehashed here, and I’m disappointed to find them. Incest is abuse by default; polyamory and gay relationships are not. Bringing incest into debates on gay marriage is like flinging a dead cat on the debate table, and then lighting it on fire. Whatever your views on gay marriage are, at least do us the common decency of not bringing… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Chris
5 days ago

Did I say anything about incest? Don’t put words in my mouth! An apology is required.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Chris
3 days ago

If you read my comment I did not mention incest. Don’t put words into my mouth. An apology is required.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Chris
3 days ago

Why do you regard incest as abuse? Consider a brother and sister brought up separately who meet as adults, fall in love and want to wed. Who is abusing whom?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Lottie E Allen
5 days ago

I think that’s the compromise which should be promoted. Ministers should marry all couples regardless of their sex combination or opt out of marrying any couples. That ensures no discrimination for same sex couples but no minister is forced to marry same sex couples if they don’t want to – they just opt out of marrying couples altogether.

Last edited 5 days ago by Kate Keates
Mitch McLean
Mitch McLean
Reply to  Susannah Clark
5 days ago

How about a quid pro quo?

Give conservatives their own province and you can marry who you like.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Mitch McLean
4 days ago

I’m more concerned that a gay couple should have as much right to be married in their parish church as a straight couple, Mitch.

So if a socially ‘conservative’ priest doesn’t want to marry them, that’s conscience, but the gay couple should still have the right to bring in a replacement priest instead. No parish church should be off limits to the people of England.

Susannah Clark
6 days ago

I note that Andrew Godsall has stated elsewhere (in a ‘conservative’ blog site) that “we are at the point where we should allow the laity to decide on this matter” of gay marriage. Andrew can speak for himself if he wants, but I would add a further question: Is it time to ballot every Church of England member who has been on an electoral roll for at least one year, to ask them: “Are you in favour of gay couples having the same right as straight couples to be married in churches in the Church of England?” (allowing for individual… Read more »

Toby
Toby
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 days ago

And if the majority says no?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Toby
6 days ago

Let’s find out : )

At the moment we have a situation where I suspect a minority doctrine is being imposed on the consciences of everyone else.

The bishops and Synod have not been able to change that (notwithstanding 50 years of talk and repeated delays), and so people right now continue to be harmed, and that cannot be right.

So why not approach things from the grassroots up?

What does the Church *actually* believe, as opposed to what is imposed on it?

Shall we find out?

Last edited 6 days ago by Susannah Clark
Bob
Bob
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 days ago

Since anyone who lives in the parish, regardless of their beliefs, can be on the electoral roll, the electoral roll is hardly a list of church members. A declaration of faith and weekly attendance at a Sunday service would be more appropriate.

Russell Dewhurst
Russell Dewhurst
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

Anyone wishing to be on the electoral roll must declare themselves to be a member of the Church of England, and must be baptized (and over 16 and not ordained).

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

Bob, anyone on the Electoral Roll of a parish IS a member of the Church of England. It’s the rules. And so if we’re trying to clarify what members believe, a poll of all people on the Roll is the most thorough way to get the stats. It is not for you or I to say, “But are they a REAL Christian?” We can leave that judgmental stuff to God. My main point is that, since the hierarchy of the Church (bishops and Synod) have proved incapable of changing doctrine and implementing gay marriage, and since the present doctrinal status… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Susannah Clark
5 days ago

I suspect that the vast majority of the population has been to a same sex wedding. It’s very hard to believe such weddings are “against the will of God” when one has oneself eaten, drunk, danced and given presents at one or more such weddings.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate Keates
5 days ago

It’s such a good point. It’s easy for some people to overlook that this issue does not just concern gay people, but also those who like or love gay people, and share lives with them: a gay person’s family, or their work colleagues, or their friends, or their neighbours. Almost all of us these days know gay couples who are married and – notwithstanding all the dire and negative warnings of religious ‘conservatives’ – people’s experience is that these LGBT associates are normal and happy and as socially caring as anyone else. Gay couples bring gift to community. And their… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Susannah Clark
4 days ago

I have not said anything about “real Christian’s”. That is entirely your comment not mine. Please do not put your words in my mouth! A apology is required. Committed atheists can be on the roll. As you and I quite rightly stated anyone in the parish can be on the roll. That is, in my humble view, a definition of the membership of the Church of England that is too wide.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Bob
4 days ago

Fair point Bob, and you have my apology. I suspect many conservative evangelicals object to the principle that anyone in a parish who was baptised as a baby and says they are C of E, should simply be admitted into the fellowship on that basis. I am often hearing the slogan: ‘They are not real Christians’. My corrected comment would be: ‘And so if we’re trying to clarify what members believe, a poll of all people on the Roll is the most thorough way to get the stats. It is not for me or anyone else to say, “But are… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

We know that a lot of LGBTQ Christians have been driven away from their parish church. You propose taking that further and disenfranchising them from voting to change the ostracising behaviour. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such [inter-racial] marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix.” – Judge Leon Brazile, 1965 We read that now with horror but the same argument is still being… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Kate Keates
Brenda
Brenda
Reply to  Bob
5 days ago

As the Church of England is the national Church, and exists to serve all, “membership” itself is irrelevant.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Brenda
4 days ago

But the logical conclusion of this argument is that whatever the people of England (Christian or non-Christian, Anglican or non-Anglican) believe becomes what the Church of England believes.

And what is this ‘church’ that exists to serve all? If you can’t define its membership, who are the people doing the serving?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
4 days ago

There are obviously dangers and problems with that but when I look at the situation in Gaza, pollution in water, sending asylum seekers to Rwanda the prominent position of conscience is surprisingly well developed. I put it in those terms because we should probably ignore social trends other than those which appear to be a manifestation of conscience. Maybe an entirely open vote isn’t the way to tap into that social conscience but the Church needs to consider that the Spirit may be at work and there should be SOME formal way that a developing social conscience is fed into… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Susannah Clark
5 days ago

Thanks Susannah. I was assuming, in my comment elsewhere, that asking the laity meant asking every member of an electoral roll. I think we will carry on going round in circles for ever otherwise,

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
4 days ago

I agree with you, Andrew.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
3 days ago

Susannah. You disagreed with Andrew in an earlier comment in which you advocated disenfranchising anyone who had been on an electoral roll less than a year. You did not say why. If this were a change of doctrine then it must, surely, be approved by the whole people. The doctrine of a national church cannot be altered without the approval of the nation (however expressed). But it isn’t. It is about the right of parishioners, of all faiths and none, to use the parish church as a wedding venue. The parish churches belong to all. It is therefore a question… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  T Pott
3 days ago

Admittedly I am sympathetic to what you say, because as a National Church I agree that access rights should be afforded in a couple’s parish church to get married there. The only reason I (rather spontaneously to be honest) suggested people’s names should have been on the electoral roll for one year was that I would fear the announcement of such a poll might lead to activists of various kinds trying to ‘pack’ their electoral rolls with new people, rather in the way this happens in General Synod. But the way such a poll was carried out (and its parameters)… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  T Pott
3 days ago

“In Scandinavia this whole matter was recognised from the start as one of parishioners rights, so avoiding doctrinal strife.” Reading your final paragraph again, I think you do make a very interesting point. As the State Church (or at least, the State Church in England) a good argument could be made on grounds of ‘rights’: why shouldn’t gay and lesbian couples have the same right to marry in their parish church as any other couple? On that basis, a socially/doctrinally conservative priest or congregation could continue to have a right to their own conscientious belief, but they would not be… Read more »

Peter Mackenzie
Peter Mackenzie
4 days ago

The difficulty with the above argument is that the Church is not called to reflect the culture or the world around it, nor to embody the flow of public opinion. Just the opposite. We are to be in the world but not of it. The doctrine which it professes is that faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation.  Issues in Human Sexuality was an attempt to express what the Scriptures have to say on the subject and has held an… Read more »

Simon Eyre
Simon Eyre
3 days ago

At the risk of putting my head above the parapet these are my observations for what they are worth. It will be interesting in due course to hear the output from the meeting last weekend when the groups were together in a hotel together It had been hoped that these groups would not be populated by the “usual suspects. But as you scan down the list who is there? Many of the “usual suspects” from both sides of the discussion. Im not sure the criteria for selection to the groups has been made public. I was dismayed also to see… Read more »

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  Simon Eyre
3 days ago

You might just have got away with that Simon! No wait – I can see incoming from the unrepresentative minority.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
3 days ago

If we are comparing Synod members with the general English public in terms of proportions, then when it comes to views on sexuality, I’d argue that ‘conservative’ evangelicals who oppose gay sex and marriage are ALSO disproportionately represented in Synod. To be honest, I think General Synod is getting ‘packed’ along political lines with supporters and opponents of gay sexuality. All that said, it is a bit rich to complain about LGBT people as an ‘unrepresentative minority’ when at present (and for years) a conservative doctrine has been imposed on everyone on these matters and yet it is quite likely… Read more »

Nic T
Nic T
Reply to  Susannah Clark
2 days ago

It is fair to say that General Synod attracts people who care about the issues of the day and who feel personally under threat from any possible outcome from discussions. At present this includes conservative evangelicals, some traditional Catholics and LGBTQIA+ people. The 2021 GS elections were heavily dominated by LLF, which was in full swing in parishes at the time. It was known that it would be a major item facing the Synod, on the whole those successful in the 2021 election were people who had clearly articulated their opinions on LLF. Literature from the Church of England Evangelical… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Nic T
2 days ago

Thank you Nic, it’s interesting. I guess that if over 70s were proportionately represented in General Synod, there might be a shift toward more socially conservative views on sexuality, which is what I think surveys have suggested. The under-representation of women in Synod comparative to their participation in parish life is disturbing and disappointing. As for the three working groups, it would seem that clergy are over-represented proportionately in these groups, compared to lay people who make up the vast majority of church members. I can see why that happens – because they have broader experience of handling the complexities… Read more »

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