Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 25 November 2020

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News LLF: That Video, Those Principles & a Call for a Public Inquiry

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Christian Concern and Anglican Mainstream sabotage the LLF process

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Politics, Evangelicals and the Church of England

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Past Cases Review 2

Karen Armstrong The Guardian Dear archbishop, now is not the time to take a sabbatical

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Kate
Kate
8 months ago

Colin Coward is right to talk about safety for LGBT+ people, safety is now centre stage, both in regards to LLF but also.more broadly. How can we attend churches if we might encounter ministry of the sort in the two videos? People have generously shared their stories. It now appears that in doing so they have become targets. It is far harder now to be openly out in the Church of England than it was two weeks ago before the publication of LLF. Colin says: “Well, bishops, how are you going to handle this? A group of us will be… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

I was disturbed by the CEEC video, and the implications of its being produced before LLF was published, and with the involvement of some people who had been part of the LLF working group. The ‘Christian Concern’ (how inapt that title is!) video sickened me. I was unable to watch it. I’m cis, heterosexual, and celibate – I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be LGBTQI+ and be on the receiving end of that bile. During the year or so of discussions at diocesan, deanery, and parish level which followed the Issues in Human Sexuality report I was… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

“I had never before heard ‘orthodoxy’ defined simply by one’s attitude to LGBT issues.” That’s what launched ACNA!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Richard
8 months ago

I don’t know when ACNA was launched, but I’m in the UK and the incident I’m describing was in the late 1990s. I’d been among evangelicals all my life and, while conservative attitudes to homosexuality were generally assumed, I’d never before been aware of that being the test of orthodoxy. The shibboleths do change. In my lifetime I’ve seen evangelicals get hot under the collar about the timing of the Rapture (an issue in the US only); free will/predestination; whether one’s salvation can be lost; divorce and remarriage; women’s ministry. Debate. is a good thing, it’s the way we sort… Read more »

John Williams
John Williams
Reply to  Janet Fife
7 months ago

I am another of those who self-identified as an Evangelical until sometime around the mid-1990s. I recall how, during a discussion at a clergy chapter meeting around 1990, I expressed a fairly conservative position on sexuality, and afterwards the most strongly Evangelical member of the chapter remarked to me that this was ‘the most Evangelical thing he’d ever heard me say’! I realised at that point that being someone always very open to theological enquiry and exploration, and not to be relied upon always to toe the ‘party line’, made my evangelical credentials suspect for some. From that time on,… Read more »

David Keen
David Keen
8 months ago

Isn’t calling for a public enquiry sabotaging the LLF process? It seems clear from the responses to LLF so far that both sides of the debate are agitating for a split, and neither can countenance a church where the views of the other side are even given breathing space, let alone treated as a separate ‘integrity’. Old Nick has certainly done a number on us, here we are in the biggest crisis our country has seen for years and we’re beating each other up over sex again.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
8 months ago

After violent riots in Charlottesville with neo-nazis spreading hatred, Donald Trump notoriously said there “are faults on both sides”. Is David Keen drawing a moral equivalence between those who publish offensive articles like Lee Gatiss, produce vile videos and plot to take over Synod, with their victims who are supposed to turn the other cheek? How much “breathing space” is Mr Keen going to allow hate-mongers and bible-bashing evangelicals who are convinced they’re infallible? Please tell us, Mr Keen, how LGBQT Christians are “beating up” the other side.

David Keen
David Keen
Reply to  FrDavid H
8 months ago

So anything done by a supporter of LGBTQ Christians is ok because evangelicals are worse? I’d like to give the LLF process a good chance of working but the headlines so far are dominated by people setting out non-negotiable positions on behalf of their constituencies. Yes the CC video is dreadful. Is it just evangelicals who ‘plot to take over Synod’? I’d be surprised. Jayne Ozanne is an evangelical, and also seems pretty convinced her view is the right one. What is it about evangelicals? Are you drawing a moral equivalence between evangelicals and neo Nazis, and between me and… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Keen
8 months ago

Since when is homophobia and hatred “negotiable”? I’m comparing the rantings of hate-monger Donald Trump with Christian Concern, not you Mr Keen.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Keen
8 months ago

Scotland is intending to address the problems of increasing homophobia and, especially, transphobia, by strengthenimg hate crime legislation. Something does need to be done, but the proposal is controversial.

A public enquiry considering both secular and religious anti-LGBT rhetoric is the alternative.

Take your pick. One or other is urgently needed and, as our safety and well-being is threatened, LGBTI people are likely to push strongly for one or the other. I don’t see Jayne’s call undermines LLF in any way as the scope of a public enquiry should be much wider than just LLF.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  David Keen
8 months ago

I agree. As Paul says in his comment (below),”Why are evangelicals who say they would leave the Church of England in the future worse than Jayne Ozanne who wants them to be investigated and expelled now?” The LLF process will play out through 2021 and, meanwhile, there are more immediate issues than sex that (hopefully) all Christians can unite on, such as condemning the Government announcement earlier today to reduce the UK’s contribution to foreign aid from 0.7% of GNI (GDP) to 0.5% in order to help fund the domestic financial debt. In that connection, I was pleased to have… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Lamming
8 months ago

Whilst I have some sympathy with the Brandt Commission (1980) objectives, I cannot quite forget the remarks of Peter Bauer (in ‘Dissent on Development’ (1976) that foreign aid is a mechanism whereby “poor people in rich countries are taxed to support the lifestyles of rich people in poor countries“. The bland pieties preached by the overseas aid lobby sometimes savour of the hypocrisy of a Mrs Jellaby. There has been an enormous amount of huffing and puffing from the usual suspects about the folding of DfID into the FCO (forgetting that this is precisely what happened in 1970 and 1979).… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

I agree with most of this, if not the conclusion and particularly the assertion that “There is some very useful foreign aid; however, much is [worse than] useless.” “Much” in juxtaposition with “some” implies that more is useless than is useful. Certainly this is the popular perception, fed in no small part by the Daily Mail (a brilliant paper at scratching us where we itch), but is it true?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Allan Sheath
8 months ago

Many thanks, Mr Sheath. The formula I adopted in my last paragraph (if not elsewhere) was maladroit, and I apologise for that. However, although I am not a Daily Mail reader, and would rather peruse the phone book, complaints about the efficacy of British aid are not unique to the right-wing press: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/feb/04/billions-of-uk-aid-failing-to-reduce-poverty-report-finds (for example). I should add that DfID did do much good work, and had tried to wriggle away from the realpolitik that has informed so much government policy towards ‘aid’, albeit with varying degrees of success. The essential dilemma of all state-sponsored aid programmes is how to… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Froghole
Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

Thank you for your gracious reply, Mr Froghole. And, yes, acting the ‘global player’ has indeed become embarrassing. I officiated at a wedding where the bride’s uncle had just returned from David Cameron’s ill fated trade mission to India. He pinned the failure on ‘brahminical arrogance’. The fact that India and Indians had largely turned away from the UK in favour of the US at least two generations ago was lost on him. As for St Michael’s Honiton, happy memories of freezing January/February funerals! I’m not sure things have moved on since Belinda Bennett’s article. It is a beautiful church,… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Allan Sheath
8 months ago

Very many thanks indeed, Mr Sheath! That is really most kind. I had understood that St Michael’s was used for occasional offices after 2012, when when I attended a service at St Paul’s in 2016 no one knew what was going to happen to it. When I went to Gittisham and Combe Raleigh in 2018 I was told that it was probably going to be taken on by a church plant (which might have been associated with St Leonard’s, Exeter), but I then recall – dimly – being told that this might not be proceeding after all. I was able… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

Monkton is indeed now a studio. On my first Sunday the Churchwarden said, “Don’t hang about there, father, my wife was killed where you’re standing.”

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Froghole
8 months ago

I should add that there are more practical things the Church can be suggesting rather than alienating more people by pleading for foreign subventions in the midst of a slump (something which is likely to impair the political credibility of the whole programme). It could, for instance, agitate for further changes to the treatment of international debts; in this, the churches had some success in the 1980s (remember Brady bonds?). By far the greatest help for LCDs would be debt relief: this year has been catastrophic as commodity prices have slumped. Note, however, that private bondholders have been noticeably reluctant… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  David Lamming
8 months ago

“May I encourage all readers of this blog to write to their MP” (re the UK’s foreign aid budget). Thank you David for this timely reminder. A number of Tory MPs have already threatened to vote against this bill, if not on grounds of morality then out of enlightened self-interest – and MPs weigh their mail bags.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  David Keen
8 months ago

David, I have for quite a while campaigned for freedom of conscience for those clergy and congregations in favour of celebrating marriage of same-sex couples and benefiting from the ministry of anyone with suitable gifts, whether LGBT+ or otherwise, married/partnered or single, as well as for those against. I oppose abusive practices such as ‘conversion therapy’ and will keep trying to persuade fellow-Anglicans of the case for affirmation. So far, church leaders have tended to treat a stance such as mine (which is not uncommon) as some kind of extreme, equivalent to that of Christian Concern, with a proper middle… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
8 months ago

It would be a tragedy if evangelicals converted and brought more ordinary English people into the CofE. Religion is dangerous in the wrong hands. The once-harmless CofE is spreading hatred and division and is now best avoided. The CofE is unsafe especially for LBGTQ people. The rise of the evangelical right-wing has destroyed Anglican comprehensiveness and turned a reasonable faith into an irrational sect for extreme religious bigots. The vast majority of English people are fair-minded and seem to manage quite well without religion. Why should they join an organisation which will teach them how to hate? It’s best avoided.

Last edited 8 months ago by FrDavid H
Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
8 months ago

Karen, Thank you for your article. I was very surprised that the ABC should think fit to go on a sabbatical. He may himself be unfit and need some respite, but not using the Archbishop of York as a crutch. Our nation continues to suffer in so many ways, and it a time for all clergy to stand with our people. Many are doing so, and beggars believe that the ABC should take a sabbatical. He wanted our churches closed at the start of the pandemic, and in my opinion it is York who has fought for our churches to… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
8 months ago

I think macho leadership which excludes many people with mental health issues (such as Justin Welby) or disabled in other ways because they are not ‘strong’ enough is much overrated. He has already hung on longer than he would, under a lot of pressure, and I would rather he had time and space to recuperate than pushed himself past his limits.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Savi Hensman
8 months ago

When +Rowan left Canterbury he remarked that his successor “will need a thick skin.” In the event +Justin has suffered less public vitriol than his predecessor (in part a sign of our failure to catch the public’s imagination), but some of the criticism he has received from within the Church will have wounded him.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
8 months ago

The You Tube video is a nasty piece of work using parts of the LLF trailer to attack individuals who gave their testimony directly with what in my view is hate speech. The first minute is ignorant and vile. As makers of the trailer can we assume the CofE is going to respond to this directly? I have reported it to You Tube as hate speech. I would encourage others to do the same. The process is discredited and not a safe space for anyone LGBTI to enter. It needs some form of action from the Bishops to sort this… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

Victims of domestic violence often find it difficult to break away from their abuser. They have been assiduously groomed to believe that they are worthless and ought to be grateful for the crumbs of comfort offered to them by their abuser. They accept the apologies, the promises to do better in future, the floral bouquet. Victims invariably cannot quite believe that the person they love could act in such a cruel way and so they give them one more chance – again. Some manage to walk away, some seek justice in the courts, some live with their bruises, some, more… Read more »

Paul
Paul
8 months ago

Why are evangelicals who say they would leave the Church of England in the future worse than Jayne Ozanne who wants them to be investigated and expelled now?

It does suggest that the hope of LLF (keeping everyone in one church) is doomed – and not just by the attitude of one side.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Paul
8 months ago

That’s like saying Jews should be expelled from the Labour Party to solve anti – semitism. You don’t expel the victims – you get rid of the perpetrators.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
Reply to  Paul
8 months ago

I wouldn’t presume to speak for Jayne Ozanne, but the point she is making is not that it’s wrong to hold conservative evangelical views within the Church of England, but that those holding such views do not allow for the honesty and integrity of those who differ. That’s the point. The pre-emptive strike by the CEEC in their publishing of A Beautiful Story followed by Christian Concern’s unauthorised use of personal testimonies to trash the individuals concerned in their drive to counter LLF shows that those who profess conservative evangelical views will not accept that there are other equally valid… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Richard Ashby
8 months ago

Does Jayne think their views are equally valid? Do you?

You describe their views as “highly damaging”. She thinks their views should be illegal. I can understand that. But why is anyone pretending that “good disagreement” is an option?

Either (a) one side has to change their mind, (b) one side has to be expelled or (c) the two sides have to separate.

It seems that (a) isn’t an option. So that leaves (b) or (c). Jayne is threatening (b) and CEEC is threatening (c).

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Paul
8 months ago

You missed out (d)

Paul
Paul
Reply to  Susannah Clark
7 months ago

I assume you mean “good disagreement”?

I don’t see how that is possible if both sides thinks the other is “highly damaging”. Why would you want to have good disagreement with someone who is actively causing harm?

Last edited 7 months ago by Paul
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Paul
7 months ago

Yes, respect for one another’s right of conscience. Unity in Diversity. Broad Church. The vast majority of churchgoers in the Church of England are not at the polarities. They want to serve all the diverse needs of their local communities: the elderly, the sick, the poor, etc. Sex is not the firstmost issue for the bulk of these churchgoers. They don’t want schism. They just want to get on with what it means to them, in their localities, to be the Church alongside their neighbours, and they are mostly not interested in church politics. So I would argue, along the… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Susannah Clark
7 months ago

Susannah, thank you very much for this comment, one of the most sensible, thoughtful and loving that I have read on Thinking Anglicans for a long time. I had almost despaired of reading good sense here: you have restored my hope! We are waiting, I am told, for the Bishops to produce new teaching on these contentious issues, when the LLF process has run its course. I don’t want to be taught by the Bishops what I should believe. I listen to others, read the Bible, pray, think, and come to my own view. I neither want to be told… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Paul
8 months ago

Many LGBTI+ people have left the Church of England. doubtless many more will follow. But there are always going to be some who see making the Church of England safe for LGBTI people a service to God. Safe in every church in every parish.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
Reply to  Paul
7 months ago

Of course I don’t think their views are equally valid, how could I as an out and happy gay man? But good disagreement depends on both sides agreeing to disagree. The fact of the matter is that while many of us may remain in a church which contains Christian homophobes (as we reman in a church containing those who deny the full sacramental ministry of women) we also demand that our views, loves and lives are regarded as good, valid and blessed by that church. If the church as a whole moves in this direction and Christian homophobes can’t accept… Read more »

Anne Lee
Anne Lee
8 months ago

I understand what other people are saying about the timing of Justin Welby’s sabbatical, but I was shocked at how ill he looked during General synod this week. He clearly needs a break, so I am glad he will be having one. I am praying he will be restored to full health.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Anne Lee
8 months ago

I thought the Archbishop looked well, but of course he may be putting on a good face. He sounded weary. In supporting particularly a greater recognition of mental health too and demonstrating loving concern for clergy wellbeing I hope he will feel able and supported to take leave, trusting colleagues to deal with matters in his absence. Perhaps those things which need not to be done might not be done.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  God 'elp us all
8 months ago

The problem with that argument is that he wouldn’t defer it until next summer but would take 3 months off now.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
7 months ago

? The Guardian article Jayne referenced said specifically that he was planning this for the summer of 2021.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
8 months ago

I’m never likely to be President of the Welby fan club, but I thought Karen Armstrong’s piece showed total illiteracy of the Judeo-Christian understanding of sabbath, not to say that her analysis of the Gospels verging on the selective treatment we have come to expect of fundamentalists. This is not objective journalism.It’s opinion by ill-informed slogan. It strikes me that there’s never a good time for clergy to take a sabbatical. I think the Archbishop of Canterbury can justifiably argue that mid-2021 is as good a time as any if he is to stand any chance of holding together a… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
8 months ago

Am I the only Christian who agrees with the Chancellor in cutting the foreign aid . We have seen much of the foreign aid being given to countries like India who don’t need it. Money being given to folk who just abuse and misuse the gift. After all it is only 0.2 reduction, at a time when so many of our own people are living on much reduced incomes. Some without work, and dependent on food charities. Charity begins at home.

Fr John Emlyn

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
8 months ago

Father where on earth in the Gospel do you find the concept that charity begins at home?

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
8 months ago

“Charity begins at home “ is the first part of a proverb which continues “ but it should not end there.” The point is that it should extend beyond our home.

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Simon Bravery
8 months ago

The sad thing is that those who use this hackneyed phrase interpret charity as ‘giving stuff to those less fortunate’. Actually it means love as in the KJV version of I Corinthians 13. So we have loving homes which enable us ‘to shed the love of God abroad’. So the love of our Christian homes should impel us to loving action everywhere in the world for which Christ died, whether it be Oldham or Ouagadoudou. Location is immaterial. If I had a pound for everyone who has mouthed this nauseating phrase to me doing Christian Aid collections over more than… Read more »

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
7 months ago

It’s not 0.2 for the recipient. It’s down from 0.7 to 0.5…. 30% reduction roughly. That’s a huge drop in aid. I’m.sure there is some misuse but to declare it all invalid would be absurd. Likewise.in the UK we support food banks despite government failure. Are the poor abroad not worthy of similar respect and care?

Jeremy
Jeremy
8 months ago

Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury is weary of trying to market “wisdom from above” that no one will buy.
For as the hymn reminds us, “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide.”
Rather than ever decide, Welby has become an Instrument of Discrimination. I suggest that he resign.

John Barton
John Barton
Reply to  Jeremy
7 months ago

And I suggest that you resign, Jeremy. After all, you failed to deal with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, someone on your TV show later committed suicide, and although you may claim ‘Holy Living and Holy Dying’ to your credit, you depended on patronage too often. Or have I got the wrong Jeremy? One never knows when correspondents fail to reveal their identities.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  John Barton
7 months ago

Your time playing for Everton and Derby County were great days, Mr Barton. And then to become a character on Emmerdale. Amazing. Or have I got the wrong Mr Barton?

John Barton
John Barton
Reply to  FrDavid H
7 months ago

You’ve missed out the biblical scholar, FrDavid H (or whoever you really are)

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