Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 27 April 2022

Scot Peterson ViaMedia.News All Change: What Next for Living in Love and Faith?

Surviving Church The Kenneth Saga: End in sight?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church House of Survivors. A New Resource for the Church of England

Stephen Cottrell William Temple Foundation An Easter Vision

ViaMedia.News Living in Love and Faith: The Ozanne Foundation Responds

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Michael H
Michael H
1 month ago

I’m delighted to read that LLF responses are required by 31st April. I’d like to think it’s a subconscious way of forgetting LLF, as it will achieve nothing other than continued discrimination.

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Michael H
1 month ago

Oops, thanks Michael – I’ve changed that now!!

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I very much agree with what Scot Peterson writes here: “spontaneous ordering remains an option. While it is a temptation for the central church to decide important questions like these, local congregations may be better placed to understand the nuances of their members’ preferences…Thus, the best option may be for the church to allow variation among congregations, with many not performing same-sex wedding celebrations but with others doing so, when their members, clergy and PCC agree. In this way the church may preserve unity by allowing for diversity of belief within the structure of the national church.” I see no… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Susannah Clark
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

The Ozanne Foundation response addresses the reason why it cannot be decided at local level: the mistreatment, and all too often what amounts to conversion therapy, directed at vulnerable LGBT people in some churches is a safeguarding issue which cannot be ignored. The first comment on Scot Peterson’s piece also shows how a similar policy for the ordination of women is an ongoing failure.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

How do you propose to change the status quo? Do you have the votes in Synod to impose a socially liberal view on socially conservative churches against their conscientious beliefs? I don’t think so. Wouldn’t it be better to allow some churches to affirm or marry gay and lesbian couples on grounds of conscience, than to be stuck with the present status quo, which is no churches? Should priests and church communities who conscientiously believe gay sex is wrong for biblical reasons not have their conscientious faith protected too? I believe so. Respect for conscience should apply both ways. What… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Christianity is about doing what is right, even if you think it will fail. We place our trust in Jesus that our best us sufficient: our second best though simply isn’t good enough.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I have to repeat: Wouldn’t it be better to allow some churches to affirm or marry gay and lesbian couples on grounds of conscience, than to be stuck with the present status quo, which is no churches? People have been campaigning for theological change for 50 years or more. It hasn’t happened because the Church of England has not changed the default theology. How is it going to be changed, within the mechanisms of the Church of England, and when? Why not at least ‘free up’ those church communities that DO want to exercise this theology of affirmation? You state an ideal, Kate.… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

If their “conscientious belief” tells them not to have sex with people whose genitals match their own nobody is going to force them. Their right of conscience doesn’t extend to abusing or discriminating against others whose “conscientious belief” tells them otherwise. I would grudgingly accept an opt-out for clergy (and organists, vergers etc) from conducting the weddings of same-sex couples, just as there is one for the remarriage of divorcees, but that should only extend so far as referring the couple to a willing priest, not blocking the use of the parish church.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

We should follow the example of Denmark. Parliament decided same sex marriages could occur in all Church of Denmark churches. Individual priests can opt out but then a different priest conducts the service, in the parish church. Private denominations can refuse same sex marriage, according to their own rules, but for the national church Parliament decided.

Bypass Synod and lobby your MP. Let’s have a Danish.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

I agree about bypassing Synod
The Church of England is an established church: the right to a Christian marriage in the local church shouldn’t be restricted to heterosexual couples.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
29 days ago

Be careful what you wish for, in case you get it. At present the secular authority might mandate a position on marriage that you agree with. Are you prepared to commit to following the secular line if and when it diverges from your own?

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
29 days ago

I fear that the phrase “conversion therapy” has lost all meaning here. It seems to be used to mean anything that is less than enthusiastic agreement with the author’s position on LGBT-related questions: which is apparently a Bad Thing.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
29 days ago

I think the danger becomes more acute when you try to encourage ‘change’ on the basis (and driven by) religious dogma rather than science and the oversight of health professionals. In my recent (very helpful) interaction with a concerned evangelical minister, we both agree that what’s needed is compassion and key principles such as space, time, kindness, respect… so the individual can understand for themselves who they are, what they feel etc. Parachuting in a religious dogma can be brutal in its psychological effects, not only if an individual is perversely encouraged to repress their natural sexuality, but in terms… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Susannah Clark
28 days ago

In this context, I take it that the phase “religious dogma” means “strongly held beliefs which I do not agree with”. The phrase might be matched with “ideological dogma”, which seems a fair description of certain positions on sex and gender issues. But the executive summary of this position appears to be that people are allowed (by what authority, I wonder) to hold certain religious beliefs provided that they do not seek to persuade others or act on them. However, looking specifically at the gender issues, I question whether it is really the case that there is “lack of real… Read more »

Last edited 28 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
28 days ago

No, the term religious dogma to me applies to religious beliefs regardless of whether I agree with them or not. Indeed, I strongly defend the right of conscience for people to oppose gay sex, partly because I think that dogma can have some coherence and integrity, if the Bible is read at a fairly surface literal level (at which level I think the authors are not okay with man-man sex). However, there is a huge difference between using a dogma as a basis for changing a person’s innate sexual orientation (and I believe in most cases, sexual orientation is innate… Read more »

Last edited 28 days ago by Susannah Clark
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
28 days ago

You will therefore be pleased to hear that happens. In my experience anyone being prescribed hormones for the first time will have to sign that they understand the changes are irreversible and may include sterility.

Moreover the diagnosis is very well established in DSM which is medically pretty much the gold standard.

As to conversion therapy, the argument that the term cannot be properly defined is facile: it has been fully defined and encoded in statute in several democracies without any problems. Those who argue it can’t be defined usually actually mean that they don’t like the definition.

Last edited 28 days ago by Kate
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
28 days ago

A couple of points emerge. The question of whether children are capable of giving informed consent remains live. And it was not I who equated “mistreatment” of LGBT people with conversion therapy.

Last edited 28 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

Scot Peterson’s article is excellent, so is his book by the way. He articulates well the way that the legislation around same sex marriage and the church is a legal anomaly. Legally, everyone has a right to get married in their parish church. This was extended to a right to get married in a church where there was a qualifying connection. When there were legislative changes that extended the right to get married to more couples, such as allowing those who were divorced and had a spouse still living, those legislative changes always allowed the couples to get married in church. In each case… Read more »

Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

I really appreciated the response by the Ozanne Foundation. It really does show how things in the real world have moved on so much since LLF was announced back in 2017. The Church of England is being left behind in matters of safeguarding of LGBT+ people. I totally agree, “We therefore urge the Church of England to move swiftly to adopt the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives’ “Safeguarding Principles to Protect LGBT+ Lives” agreed in March 2022 at a conference sponsored by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.” Many of those principles are standard practice in many work places.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

The House of Survivors material is really important. Do please look it up if you are reading this. The Church of England has not yet got close to an adequate response.

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

House of Survivors https://houseofsurvivors.org/ The aim has been to create a body of *narrative wisdom*. It is an incomplete and fragmentary picture of a much larger narrative. It’s a work in progress. The site has received a range of striking endorsements on Twitter, some of which I copy below: “I welcome this new website and thank all those who have been involved in its creation. It is a helpful resource, which will be added to, but also a challenge to us all @churchofengland to continue to do better.” Stephen Cottrell “This is a really valuable resource and I commend it… Read more »

Father David
Father David
1 month ago

Certainly, “simpler, humbler, bolder” is easier to remember than the Five Marks of Mission ever were and is as catchy as “See it, Say it, Sorted”. This often reminds me of Mary Magdalene’ post encounter with the Risen Lord when she announced to the Disciples – “I have seen the Lord” and that he had said these things to her. Thereafter things seemed to be pretty well sorted as from that special meeting in the Garden of Resurrection the Church began simply to grow and grow.

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