on Tuesday, 21 November 2023 at 11.44 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England, General Synod
Press Release from the General Synod Gender & Sexuality Group and from Inclusive Groups
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England
Church of England Evangelical Council
Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News The Dam Has Broken: Synod and Beyond
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Where have we arrived after General Synod?
Why does Ed Shaw feel abandoned? I have yet to meet a monk or nun who feels abandoned because the church allows others to wed. All of us were taught that sex and marriage will have no place in the world to come; some of us choose to forsake these for the sake of the kingdom right now, others cannot. Ed is no more abandoned than any garden-variety straight Christian. Heavens, it sounds like he just wants the church to back up his own abstinence by making it mandatory.
It must be very frustrating for gay Ed to discover no one is interested in his choice of celibacy, because fellow gays are going off to be happily partnered, blessed and pursuing personal happiness. He obviously feels “abandoned” because his own self-sacrifice is pointless and in vain, and no one is bothered!
The Bible hasn’t changed so Ed Shaw’s own position hasn’t changed. If he feels it has, then that suggests his celibacy is linked to prevailing church teaching, not the Bible. That ought to concern us greatly and make us question whether teaching to suppress sexual orientation is tantamount to conversion therapy.
The Bible hasn’t changed. But our understanding of it has. People who follow Holy Books differ in their interpretation of their texts. A Muslim woman in the UK, for example, is in a different position from her sisters in Afghanistan. A gay fundamentalist Christian like Ed is like someone having to live under a CofE Taliban.
That’s a totally inappropriate comment. Conservative evangelical Christians in the UK are not waging literal warfare with kalashnikovs, refusing to allow women to go to school or university, sending suicide bombers into packed civilian areas etc.
Neither are Muslim women in either the UK or Afghanistan.
I honestly can’t tell – are you defending the use of the phrase ‘C of E Taliban’, or not?
I’m making a fool of myself is what I’m doing. I read you as referring to the comparison of Muslim women and had completely missed the “Taliban” reference. My apologies. I think the Taliban comparison is excessive; the portion of CofE con-evos who actually want to murder gay people and confine women is likely very small, for all that they cosy up to those who do.
I agree. They just expend most of their energy and venom on persecuting LGBTQ people.
So why would you call them a C of E Taliban?
As you say, they are not using “literal” kalashnikovs. Metaphorical ones can still be very hurtful.
I think you are missing the point. Even if *our* interpretation of the Bible has changed, why should *his* interpretation change? Nothing has changed for him, unless he goes by the teaching of the Church and not the Bible and that undermines everything the orthodox group says.
How can the teaching of the Church be different from that of the Bible? The Church produced the Bible and exists to interpret it. There was no New Testament when Jesus was around. Is there an unchanging Gospel according to Ed, and one according to the Church? No. That is an extremely naive view of how exegesis develops.
I suspect that I am in a minority here who doesn’t find objectionable the ‘temporary arrangements’ proposed by CEEC.
Formal reporting to the diocesan will remain. People can find a spiritual director compatible with their outlook. That’s neither revolutionary nor even novel.
Withholding funds from dioceses may seem more problematic to some but many of us feel there are strong grounds for doing that until the safeguarding culture changes. Their reasons may be different but it’s not an idea which is really alien to a substantial number of us – who have already diverted our personal giving elsewhere.
I’m still amazed that the ConEvos are so obsessed with the sex lives of consenting adults capable of giving their consent. Human beings can do the most dreadful things to each other – lovemaking seems so innocent in comparison.
We should none of us be surprised about the church’s preoccupation with sex -or not having it- it has gone back to the early Fathers. The Lambeth Palace library has a C10th manuscript of St Aldhelm’s treatise in praise of virginity, and on the title page is an illustration of him presenting it to Abbess Hildelith of Barking and a group of very attractive nuns ranged behind her .A reproduction can be found online, and I commend it to anyone who wants a smile on a dark morning. The shame is that similar intrusive preoccupation has moved to what sort… Read more »
Regarding Mr. Martin’s article on the CEEC’s reaction to the decision to allow experimental use of “stand-alone” same-sex blessing ceremonies, he quotes the CEEC as writing “the historic Anglican and biblical position on sexual ethics” And what biblical position would that be? Forced circumcision in order to marry into the Anglican “tribe”? Multiple wives? Being required to marry a deceased wife’s sister? Marriage only after giving celibacy a, um, trial run (’tis better to marry than to burn). And what part of “voluntary” does CEEC not understand? No parish priest will be required to offer same-sex blessings. I don’t know… Read more »
Stand-alone as opposed to using the Prayers of Love and Faith within an existing regular service.
Can someone tell me what GS meant by a stand-alone blessing service? As opposed to …?
I think the idea is that you can have a specific service of blessing for a same-sex relationship on a Saturday morning to which you can invite friends and which you can follow with a party.
Peter, I too am intrigued by what’s meant by ‘stand-alone’. Is it analogous to the 3pm baptism with no one from the worshipping community present? Does it rule out a nuptial mass? I hope the truth is more mundane, as either of the above reasons would suggest a church embarrassed to be offering such a blessing.
From my reading of the Synod paper, the House of Bishops’ proposal was that prayers could only be added as an incidental part to an already planned service in the regular cycle of services – morning worship, evensong etc. The Bishop of Oxford’s amendment proposes that a separate, additional service could be added at which the prayers for the couple could be the main, or only, focus.
Thank you for the clarification, Kate. I was being overly cynical. That said, given the Church’s history regarding same-sex relationships, are couples from outside the worshipping community going to pluck up the courage to ring the Vicar and ask for a blessing?
If any clergy group can get away with doing whatever they please, e.g. announcing their own fourth order of ministry – an ‘overseer’ (a bishop in all but name) over one secondary doctrinal issue, do you think it would lead to eventual breakdown of the Church order? How could our bishops license clergy who they know will reject them and seek oversight from another ‘overseer’, who has not gone through a proper discernment and appointment process? Is that even safe? What is the point of the Church of England’s episcopal and synodical governance structures if clergy can get away with… Read more »
No diocese can demand payments. Common fund/parish share/quota is a voluntary contribution. I know of one nearby parish that has decided to reduce its contribution as it disagrees with the diocese. It could easily afford to pay in full.
Common fund / share is indeed technically voluntary. But let’s get real. How will the priest’s stipend be paid under our current arrangements if share is withheld?
By which I mean self supporting ministry.
By which you mean; stipend, pension contribution, council tax, water bill/rates.
Whatever the parish thinks of the opinion of the diocese, ‘someone’ is having to pay those costs whilst they have the provision of clergy.
No, an overseer cannot be a bishop in all but name in a church which is based on apostolic succession. My guess is that “overseer” will be quietly dropped and instead they will consecrate people as bishops in one of the GAFCON churches. That way they will be bishops, just not ones in full communion with the Church of England. My personal belief is that they have identified a temporary arrangement which looks as though it can work so, were I a serving bishop in the Church of England, I would just tell them that their arrangements were “grieving me”… Read more »
It is necessary to stand back and think strategically. The danger is that we allow conservatives to set the terms of the debate such that we will always lose. The Gospels are divinely inspired but they were written by fallible human beings two thousand years ago and in the context of the culture of the time. If we are to succeed we must think outside the constraints of biblical fundamentalism and outside the Jewish culture of first century Palestine. I empathise with my LGBTQIA+ sisters and brothers but believe me you are not the only members of the Church of… Read more »
“We urgently need an alliance of the excluded and marginalised.”
1990 years ago it was (probably) called the Jesus Movement or something similar.
And many OT prophets weren’t priests so the Lord is as likely to speak through lay people as He is through ordained ministers.
David, I believe you are quite wrong to ignore the diversity of Anglican Provinces in the South. That is the trap set for us by ‘Global South’ activists in the UK, Australia and North America. Great to hear Cherry Vann, but we also need to walk with those who live with the legacy of invasion – get to know the Anglican Communion Indigenous Network. If you want to know communities that are unwelcome and unloved get to know Amazonian Anglicans, and so many other indigenous peoples on the front line of ecological activism and often being killed. Anglicans in the… Read more »
If you click on Jayne Ozanne above it will take you to an X/Twitter exchange in which she posts her letter of resignation & Welby’s extraordinarily insensitive reply. So bad is Welby’s letter that it could be used as a textbook example of how not to do things.
Actually, I would say that given the specific language Jayne used in her letter, and given the safeguarding climate in the C of E right now, Justin probably had little choice but to refer her letter to the safeguarding authorities and put himself in their hands.
He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
It’s the pastoral side that I was really on about. The mention of her mother’s illness rang false, particularly link with death of his own. A 19 yr old midshipman would be expected to do better for those in his/her division.
To be fair to Jayne Ozanne she has been remarkably consistent over many years in her claim that the treatment of young LGBTQ church members in conservative churches amounts to spiritual abuse, and an actual safeguarding risk.
I think she is right, but few people at any level were prepared to listen, as the implications of acting on such a claim were too difficult to contemplate
Perhaps we are now at the point where it is not possible for the leadership to be seen to be taking no action.
I don’t have a Twitter account, so can’t read ++ Justin’s reply. Would it be possible for someone to screenshot it please?
Attached is the Welby reply
Thank you so much. It is greatly appreciated.
Jayne’s comment on the letter on X/Twitter is as follows:
“In case it’s of interest, this is the response I’ve got from Justin, which almost made me laugh…
It’s as if he’s only just heard of the abuse we have been talking about for decades thanks to so many LGBT+ Christians vulnerably sharing their testimonies…”
I wonder why Justin is taking action on this complaint now, when Jayne Ozanne has been saying the same thing for many years.
Is it that Justin feels that his hand has been forced, and in today’s climate he must now be seen to be taking action, or is it that Justin has finally lost patience with the conservative groupings, and he is no longer prepared to defend or protect them?
One day some poor youngster is going to attempt suicide because of the “teaching” in their local church. Now there will be nowhere to hide because Justin – and others – have been warned of the ongoing safeguarding risk.
One day? The perception that you can’t be gay and Christian has killed many people, including 14 year old Lizzy Lowe in 2014. Even if their local church is not vocally homophobic young people still pick up the loud conservative messaging and wider cultural perceptions. Local churches should, therefore, be making abundantly clear their affirmation of same sex relationships on the same terms as opposite sex ones, as should those of us who are Christian parents.
I just can’t get over this. WTF. I mean, how do you even address this degree of hopeless cluelessness. ““Ozanne said, as reported by the Telegraph, she “left the meeting in floods of tears” after Welby’s speech “opened with a parallel – he wanted to reiterate that we are not a problem; he had dealt with militia leaders who had killed tens of thousands of people and if they were not a problem, of course, we wouldn’t be either”. After calling out Welby’s comment he responded with a handwritten apology telling her that he was supposed to say that if… Read more »
Sounds to me as if Justin spoke too soon, and under serious emotional stress so that he didn’t fully appreciate what he was saying. Of course ‘evil’ people can find grace – one did on a cross alongside Jesus – but using that particular analogy is very clumsy. I was reading John’s comments in Revelation the other day; who will be among the great company of the redeemed, and those who won’t – like Paul, there are a lot very simple human failings listed among the excluded. Quite clearly, without the grace of God none of us will get there… Read more »
Being rather elderly I hate to see this type of serious correspondence being pinged backwards and forwards on social media because it transforms it into a type of performance rather than a conversation. Jayne’s last very clear sentence clearly stirred something within xx Justin – even if it was only to produce a rapid response designed to cover the parts upon which he sits…. But it also brings me back to the place where I started following this site which was trying to understand why the Established Church should wish to be exempt from the country’s anti- discrimination laws. So… Read more »
There is, I think, one legitimate exception to equality legislation, which is that relating to religious belief. If a church is employing a priest or a youth worker or anyone else with a teaching role it’s legitimate to use the “occupational requirement” exception to say that those employed should be Christian believers.
Equally, it is permissible for a synagogue to require segregated male and female seating as an obligation or consequence of religious belief.
There is, in fact, nothing in the Equality Act 2010 specifically exempting the C of E from its provisions: this idea is a popular myth. Schedule 23 (General Exceptions) paragraph 2 (1) applies to all organisations relating to religion or belief.
Furthermore the protected characteristic of religion or belief extends equally to lack of religion or religious belief.
IT, how wonderful to see a post from you! I enjoyed your posts back in the Father Jake days (which seems a long time ago). I hope you and your wife are doing well.
The CoE also has a wider responsibility to other churches as well as wider societies. Lights and bushels and all that
I read this and wept.
Quick PS, having read Colin Coward’s piece – according to his assessment of people the extreme con/evo world would exclude ‘sinners’ such as my wife and I – because she’s divorced and I’m her second husband. (The fact her first husband was an abusive pervert and adulterer notwithstanding) This isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds – I’ve seen similar ideas expressed on TA and other sites, sufficient to know that it would be a real possibility in some churches. Indeed, because of her ‘Christian’ tutoring in fundamentalist missions and colleges, my good lady has been upset over this issue before.… Read more »
David, thank you so much for reading my blog. Age has brought me to realise more consciously that the behaviours, language, theology and abusive attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ people expressed by so many many members of Synod has become intolerable. There is a foul version of faith at large in the Church of England that I no longer recognise as Christian. It will kill the Church here.
I hope that Jayne taps her shoes against the architrave of General Synod’s exit door. She has graciously advocated for the LGBTQIA+ community at great personal cost. She faithfully persevered with the mealy mouthed and hand wringing bishops long after many others had walked away. That there are so many closeted bishops indicates the mountain she faced. I hope her friends now surround her with love and in time she can move on to more fulfilling endeavours. God bless you Jayne x