Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 15 February 2020

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Ten Top Ways to Get the Church to Carbon Neutral

Erika Baker ViaMedia.News Living in Love & Faith – a View from the Pew

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Living in Love and Faith – what are we missing, what are we not understanding?

David Walker ViaMedia.News General Synod: The Highs & Lows

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Listening to the General Synod Safeguarding Debate

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Susannah Clark
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Bishop David advocating unity in diversity: “Hence, I believe that the big challenge, for both the team writing the LLF document and those of us in the House of Bishops who will see the next draft in March, is to affirm our diversity in words that will allow all us in the Church to see that we are being offered space to live and flourish, alongside those with whom we disagree deeply, in one body. The book won’t mandate a particular change programme, but it must resource and support us in forming the change proposals we will need, within a… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“And that process will need to be open and transparent.”

It hasn’t started well though, has it, with the House of Bishops poring over drafts nobody else sees? That’s the antithesis of open and transparent.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Totally agree, Kate. At this stage it’s “talked about” rather than participating through to the end. I gave a lot of myself to the LLF process – and it was raw and tearful and, at that point, sensitively handled. No more than many others, but I gave myself. But I’ve been saying for some time, as you are Kate, that the actual drafting is key: and at this point, it’s the bishops who get to see each stage of the drafts, but the people with the actual lived experience are not in this stage. We’re outside it. We participated, and… Read more »

God 'elp us all
Guest
God 'elp us all

Putting two and two together …? Welcoming the undertakings of Bishop Gibbs and John Spence at General Synod regarding redress for victims and survivors of abuse and funding being found, my mind turned to compensation in the health service. A recent case pointed up the scale of NHS ‘redress’- billions of pounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51180944 There is a system in place in the NHS: https://resolution.nhs.uk/services/claims-management/advice-for-claimants/ At the same time, General Synod decided the CofE should be zero carbon by 2030. What will that mean for our hard-to-heat church buildings? Perhaps we might find it hard to justify the expenditure to sustain them?… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

I think the Church would see its insurers go into administration rather than start selling its own assets. I’m not closely involved but reading the various reports it seems that they are playing hardball with survivors and testing their resolve to go to litigation. Presumably at some point a survivor will not blink first and will achieve a significant settlement in the courts. Survivors deserve to be properly compensated for the dreadful way they were let down by bishops and the Church. My prayer is that like the importunate widow they will be resilient and obtain the justice they so… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Synod didn’t help, though. Being Carbon neutral by 2030 is likely to be fearsomely expensive which will make financing redress for survivors even more challenging.

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

Kate, as T Potts commented last week, the CofE is unlikely to have any difficulty in removing its carbon footprint altogether.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Colin Coward is spot on when he says that the Church of England establishment doesn’t get the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

Susannah Clark
Guest

I was a bit pissy with Colin last week over one issue of disagreement, but I must say that his article this week is a great critique of the LLF discussions that took place in General Synod. It was acute and well-written. Gender and sexuality are not black and white. In many people’s lives they shape shift, or scatter across a whole spectrum of behaviours and feelings. I’m pretty polarised around femme and lesbian attraction myself, but for many people it’s far more fluid, and in the end – what matters most is who we are as people, and the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A very good summary, by Erika Baker, of what was originally intended to be the practical outcome from the LLF process – versus the unsatisfactory intervention of the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement that was issued in the interim. The real problem – as it seem to me as a onlooker from the furthest Province in the Anglican Communion (ACANZP) – is the inherent disassociation of ‘The Statement’ – from the stated objective of the process: which was to find a way of radical inclusion for ALL – regardless of points of view on the gender/sexuality issues being considered. What some of… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

I think both Colin Coward and Erika Baker touch on one key question on the whole LLF process which I hope those creating it have thought about, but I have seen no indication of that so far. Who is the process aimed at, and what are the learning outcomes. In my experience there are three main constituencies or groups involved in the sexuality debate in the church. Two groups can be named as Active Conservatives and Active Liberals; those groups from either side of the debate who feel strongly enough about the issue to get involved. Then there are the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

I think this is a really important analysis.

Most parishioners are more concerned about the elderly, the young, the sick etc and actually getting on with building and growing and serving community.

They are tired with the whole sexuality distraction and want to move on.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

… and nothing the bishops and GS say or do will affect the attitude of the PPS one iota. I find Cocksworth’s prose impenetrable. To me it’s all insubstantial hedging. I read what he writes and then scratch my head wondering what he’s actually said. Sir Humphrey writ large. Walker isn’t much better: on the one hand this, on the other that. Dean H (see below) is almost certainly right. Still, kicking the can further down the road will have one indisputable benefit: the C of E will have no difficulty whatsoever in meeting its climate change target.

Borswith
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Borswith

For most PPS there is no ‘discussion of sexuality in the church’. They may be vaguely aware that the national press (which they generally don’t read) like to report on bishops and sex. But that’s not their church. Their church is the one in which they sit in the third row from the back, left hand side. As for awareness of LLF, I think you can easily reuse your 95% figure of church people being passive pew sitters to describe those who have never heard of it. I agree with your principal point that attitudes in the pew have shifted… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Guest
Fr. Dean Henley

I don’t want to be a killjoy but am I alone in thinking the ground is being prepared by the bishops of Coventry and Manchester for LLF to be another can down the road kicking process? It feels as though they’re softening up the LGBTQI community for more disappointment.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I agree but think it would be a terrible mistake because the Church is starting to fracture. Oddly it is not fracturing between liberals and conservatives as many expected, the fracture is between bishops and the church. The failure to deal with safeguarding and survivor redress is the biggest factor, but being totally out of touch on loving relationships is driving the fracture wider.

The bishops can carry on ignoring that but do so at their peril because they are very close to being seen as irrelevant.

ACI
Guest
ACI

“…it is not fracturing between liberals and conservatives, but between…’ — with respect, this is simplistic. The Bishops are taking positions that reflect this underlying disagreement and fracturing.

Fr. Dean Henley
Guest
Fr. Dean Henley

It’s so much more complex than that Kate. The current bench are certainly a fairly supine lot; appointed more for their ability, as someone commented yesterday as school prefects rather than leaders. But on a human level they’re also frightened as the numbers attending church haemorrhage away and the rate of vocations fails to keep pace with those leaving ministry for one reason or another. From this place of fear they hear the evangelicals (both conservative and liberal) offering quick fixes and they latch on to their ill-conceived schemes with great enthusiasm; choosing to ignore the stark evidence that they’re… Read more »

ACI
Guest
ACI

“…the Anglican Communion (a nebulous and relatively recent invention)…” — and an increasingly incoherent idea when the one who claims to be the sole proprietary leader is facing challenges at home that make his role untenable. The “Anglican Communion” is of course not a recent idea but one deeply rooted in successful missionary expansion going back centuries. It is ‘nebulous’ only to the degree certain liberal CofE folk want it that way. It would be far better–and here we have voices from the CofE agreeing–to leave the Communion to a conciliar polity outwith the English challenges at present. One may… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Fr Dean. I really do get why trust in the process and participants is at such a low ebb. But I find your view that the bishops of Coventry and Manchester are part of a plot to keep blocking this (kicking cans?) rather puzzling. Not least because while Coventry comes to this issue as a conservative (though who knows where his thinking is actually going?) Manchester most certainly does not and never has. Furthermore both have publicly declared that the LLF process must proceed ‘within a fixed time frame’. The Bishops Statement debacle has made very public the real diversity… Read more »