Thinking Anglicans

Reactions to latest LLF proposal

Updated again Wednesday 25 October

These proposals are contained in GS 2328, published last Friday. It is titled:
Living in Love and Faith
SETTING OUT THE PROGRESS MADE AND WORK STILL TO DO.

The Church Times published this news story the same day: Same-sex provision needs more work, General Synod will be told

Charlie Bell has published A Sum Total of Nothing: The Prayers of Love and Faith Return to Synod

Helen King has written Going to the stake: Living in Love and Faith as Synod approaches

MOSAIC has issued this Statement on the House of Bishops LLF press release and General Synod Motion

Letter to the Second Church Estates Commissioner
This letter from Ben Bradshaw MP and Peter Gibson MP asks seven detailed questions about GS 2328 and the involvement of the House of Bishops in its approval.

Tuesday updates

Richard Moy Chapter Eight: Here Come the Generals
see also other post about his attendance at the GFSA Cairo meeting. He writes in detail about that meeting, and about Nicky Gumbel’s participation in it.

Helen King  Suspicion and fear

Jeremy Pemberton Living in Love and Faith: a whole lot of hot air?

John Sandeman The Church of England’s proposal to half bless same-sex couples

Wednesday updates

Martin Davie WHY GS 2328 IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY FORWARD.

Andrew Goddard (via Psephizo) “Another Fine Mess”? A Guide to Where We Are With LLF Pre-General Synod
And there is a longer (18 pages) version here.
Also he draws attention to this item: GS Misc 1359 The Recent Evolution of the Church of England’s Liturgical Procedures and Canons (B1 to B5A)

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Janet Fife
Janet Fife
6 months ago

The link to Charlie Bell’s article appears to be broken.

Peter
Peter
6 months ago

A conservative perspective might be a useful addition to the commentary. The Motion going before Synod on 14th November (GS 2328 Annex 1) asserts that which is not true. Rites to affirm same sex relationships are demonstrably commended and articulated within GS 2328. It is a fiction to characterise the stance taken by the House of Bishops on this matter as inconsequential in regard to the Doctrine of the Church. I am weary with begin castigated by others on this site for using the term “orthodox” to describe the conservative position. It defies reason to continue to insist that heterodoxy… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Bob
Bob
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Well said Peter.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Attitude to same-sex relationships is a new shibboleth for conservatives. It has not been a requirement for orthodoxy historically. It does not, of itself, touch on any matter considered essential to the faith either by the authors of the ecumenical creeds or by the reformers who authored various statements of doctrine including the 39 Articles. What is heterodox, bordering on Donatist, is the demand to have bishops that you agree with. That is why your attempt to claim the title “orthodox” for your tribe of reactionary schismatics is both fallacious and hypocritical.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

You know perfectly well that the silence of the creeds and the reformers on an issue cannot possibly be used to infer a general principle of permissibility.

To assert that the compilers of the Thirty Nine Articles would have approved of same sex relationships is to enter a world detached from reality.

Fr Andrew
Fr Andrew
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Peter, I read what Jo said differently: It does not… touch on any matter considered essential to the faith (either by the authors of the ecumenical creeds or by the reformers who authored various statements of doctrine including the 39 Articles.) The Church Fathers and Reformers may well have disapproved of same sex relationships: we shall never know, but that isn’t the point. The point is, they didn’t think they were important matters of faith: the important matters of faith went in the creeds and the articles. There is nothing in the creeds about marriage or indeed sex of any… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

The Thirty Nine Articles never claim to usurp scripture. They do precisely the opposite.

I restate the point. The notion that the reformers would have been relaxed about same sex relationships is simply preposterous.

If the progressive argument was that doctrine must change it would still be wrong but it would be coherent.

You want me to believe that two plus two equals five.

Fr Andrew
Fr Andrew
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Peter, again, the point is not what the Reformers or Church Fathers thought about same sex relationships- the past is not quite so monolithic on this issue as you might think but ultimately we don’t know. We can’t make assumptions, history 101. They didn’t think their views important enough to write down. Nor did the Gospel writers. I can’t see how not mentioning something makes it ‘doctrine’. ‘Practice’ of the church maybe or ‘tradition’ but doctrine? Are we now in the realm of unwritten doctrine? Seriously you’re suggesting that hostility to same sex relationships is on a par with doctrine… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Fr Andrew
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

Scripture is not silent on the matter.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Please point to where in scripture lifelong, faithful, same-sex relationships are addressed.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Are you seriously suggesting that question has not been addressed ?

If you were asking the question because you wanted to understand the answer you would find the necessary material in an instant.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Peter: I’m asking rhetorically because I already know the answer – scripture does not anywhere address lifelong, faithful, same-sex relationships. The only way you get to scripture not being silent on this is to elide these relationships with rape, pederasty, adultery, or prostitution (including that associated with pagan religious practices) or with practices where we’re not even sure what is being described.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Scripture addresses the nature of marriage very very comprehensively

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

No it doesn’t. It uses an assumed understanding of marriage as an illustration at several points, but it says little that’s prescriptive about the nature of marriage (and what it does say is a far better argument against divorce than it is equal marriage). The examples of real marriages (primarily in the Hebrew scriptures) run the gamut from good, to bad, to ugly.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

That is simply not true. In a cultural sense, scripture is not specific as to what a marriage will look like. However, the idea that scripture is vague on the essential nature of marriage is obviously wrong. The claim that every previous generation of humanity (not just christians), across time and across all societies have been barking up the wrong tree – but now a tiny minority of the world population have worked what is right is ridiculous. It this claim were advanced with any degree of humility it would still be wrong. The reality is that you want to… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

We have pretty good evidence of the hazard presented by homophobia and transphobia to (particularly young) LGBT people. I don’t need to “insist” on what is plain for everyone to see.

What beggars belief is your jump from insisting the Bible is clear about something straight to an argument ad populum once your supposed clarity is exposed as anything but.

Richard Eves
Richard Eves
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

“The Church Fathers and Reformers may well have disapproved of same sex relationships: we shall never know,” This asserts uncertainty in an area which there is no significant uncertainty. “the important matters of faith went in the creeds and the articles.” Historically it is the controversial rather than the important issues of the faith that end up being embedded in creeds. So the Arian Controversy gives rise to the Nicaeo-Constatinopolitan Creed, the Nestorian Controversy to the Chalcedonian definition, the Reformation to the 39 Articles, etc. True, the articles do include some (then) non-controversial statements about the nature of God, but… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Richard Eves
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Richard Eves
6 months ago

It’s more that the creeds are focussed on matters of belief, on the nature and purpose of incarnation. They are not focussed on what is or is not sinful in terms of personal behaviour because those are not matters of belief in the same way. The authors doubtless considered morality important, and had different ideas from us in terms of what is moral in many areas, but that does not move personal morality into the area of orthodoxy vs heterodoxy, for all that the councils sought to classify support for certain sins (like usury) as heresy.

Richard Eves
Richard Eves
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

I think this separates orthodoxy from orthopraxy in a way that Paul (for) example would repudiate. See e.g. Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness” What is or is not sinful in terms of personal behaviour is intimately connected to the knowledge of the truth. Indeed, as James would argue, a professed orthodoxy which doesn’t lead to godliness in the life of the one making the profession reveals itself to be dead. This is also not a distinction those who… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Jo,

You have invented an entirely fictious distinction between belief and sin.

The biblical position could not be clearer. False belief leads to sin. The basis of sin is always a false set of beliefs.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Right, so the sin of homophobia is an outworking of the false belief that same-sex relationships are inherently wrong. Seems a bit reductive but ok.

In reality, what someone believes about who and what God is does not link directly to specific views about what God approves or doesn’t approve.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

And if we start inserting the details of moral behaviour into orthodoxy, where do we stop? The first three Christian centuries were almost entirely pacifist. It was only after Constantine that the revisionist just war position gained ground. The Bible appears to condemn the lending of money at interest. Jesus says if we have two coats we’re to give one away, and he tells his disciples that if they aren’t willing to give up all their possessions they can’t be his followers.

Why is it just gay sex that’s being targeted by the ‘orthodox’?

Fr Andrew
Fr Andrew
Reply to  Richard Eves
6 months ago

Richard, the discussion was one on doctrine. How on earth can one assert that something is a doctrine if it is not mentioned? Creeds were formulated in a response to controversies, yes (though perhaps not the Apostles Creed): that doesn’t mean that they only address controversies, nor indeed that those controversies were not important: of course they were, otherwise they wouldn’t have been controversial. Or have we been wrong all these years in teaching the Apostles Creed to catechumens? Is the Lambeth Quadrilateral wrong in describing the Nicene Creed as ‘the sufficient statement of the Christian faith’? The reason the… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Fr Andrew
Richard Eves
Richard Eves
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

But you do concede that those 6 verses explicitly address the issue? Surely one would be enough…

Fr Andrew
Fr Andrew
Reply to  Richard Eves
6 months ago

Not a single verse in the Bible addresses same sex marriage in the 21st century. Not one. They speak to their contexts, bronze age or classical, which is why there is so much disagreement (except amongst conservatives) about what the actually mean. Same sex relationships in the 21st century are not what they were in the 1st. Even if one were to think that the ‘clobber passages’ do talk about what you think they talk about, they’re hardly a manifesto are they? Mostly, same sex activity is brought in to another argument. At no point, for example, does Paul sit… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Fr Andrew
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

There are many more verses in the Bible which appear to favour polygamy, than the 6 which many conservatives interpret as a blanket condemnation of same-sex relationships in all circumstances and for all time – yet I don’t see Christians who claim to be ‘orthodox’ arguing in favour of polygamy.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Given the vast amount of modern scientific, sociological and psychological knowledge unknown to the compilers of the Thirty-Nine Articles it is not wrong to say that they were, indeed, detached from reality on those subjects.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

I would suggest you could be better acquainted with the constitutional basis of Anglicanism.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

But constitutions can, and have been changed in the light of experience, improved knowledge or other causes – the American one is a good example with its numerous amendments – not always for the better, and subsequently revised in the light of bitter experience!

Peter
Peter
Reply to  John Davies
6 months ago

I suggest you have answered your own implied query

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Jo, what have you read of the ancients on this? It’s a pretty sweeping statement you have made on this. From all I have read, the ancients were very against homosexual activity and wrote against it when it was an issue.

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Richard
6 months ago

Which ‘ancients’ did you have in mind, Richard? Wrote this 7 years ago now: https://shared-conversations.com/2016/06/03/the-greeks-didnt-have-a-word-for-it/

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Helen King
6 months ago

Thank you for your post Helen, it is important to back up discussion on this topic with good research evidence. But I think we do need to emphasise that most of the scholarship you quote is very dated (which you acknowledge) and the dominant view in scholarship was by a straight man – K J Dover. And although Halperin is gay he clearly changed his views in various books over the decades as scholarship developed. A lot of the assumptions in those works are now questionable as a form of straightsplaining by men who see homosexuality as defined only in… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Simon Dawson
6 months ago

Thanks, Simon. I do have ‘thoughts’ on the Pausanias and Agathon stories, as it happens: https://shared-conversations.com/2016/07/04/pausanias-and-agathon-a-same-sex-relationship/; the relationship between the two sources is, as they say, ‘complicated’…!

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Helen King
6 months ago

Thanks Helen. As you say, the relationship, and thoughts about it, are complicated. There is quite a lot that I agree with in your post, but where you and I differ is in mapping modern constructs onto past narratives. Is it possible or not? Can we argue that Agathon and Pausanias were “homosexual”. It seems to me that there is some discrimination here. The world is full of constructs. Marriage, Priesthood, Kingship, Sacrifice. Nobody seems to have any difficulty transporting these constructs across history, yet entirely different rules are applied to the construct of Homosexuality. We happily discuss the marriage… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Simon Dawson
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Richard
6 months ago

Being against something is not co-terminous with it being an essential component of the faith. The early church was against lending money with interest, and indeed considered it a sin worthy of clergy being laicised and barring people from the sacraments, yet allowing it has not been a cause for drawing lines in the sand or threatening schism. The question is why, of all the changes in what is considered moral over the centuries, this is the one that you consider to be a litmus test of orthodoxy.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Richard
6 months ago

Richard, to be honest “the ancients were very against homosexual activity” is also a pretty sweeping statement. Who were these “ancients” who had a monolithic view on this topic. Just as today, when you have different attitudes to homosexuality within different groupings within the same church denomination, there were widely varying attitudes to homosexuality in the past. Attitudes varied with time within any culture, sometimes accepting and sometimes repressive. So whilst in some centuries European Christian culture was hostile to homosexuality, at other times it was openly accepting, and open (sometimes covenanted) relationships were possible. But also, importantly, no culture… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

The stance taken by the House of Bishops is inconsequential in regard to the Doctrine of the Church, because the Doctrine of the Church does not depend simply on the latest opinion of the House of Bishops. Nor are any of the Alternative Services or anything in Common Worship, commended or authorised, in any way consequential in regard to the Doctrine of the Church, only those in the Book of Common Prayer are.

If the bishops are departing from the doctrine of the Church, that does not change the Doctrine of the Church.

Am I wrong?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  T Pott
6 months ago

You are right that bishops cannot, ultimately, alter the true Doctrine of the Church, but I was making a different point

I was criticising the bishops’ obviously absurd claim that their novel liturgical developments do not constitute a departure from orthodoxy. Bishops can actually change and develop liturgy and liturgy is the articulation of Doctrine.

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Kate Keates
Kate Keates
6 months ago

I don’t know if people have been following what has been happening in red States in USA. There have been a vast number of anti-trans bills (tackling restrooms, education, sport, access to medical treatment, change of documentation) etc followed by a fair number of anti gay/lesbian bills too, notably in education and libraries. The fear is that Obergefell v. Hodges will be challenged soon and the right of same sex couples to marry removed in many States. The UK, especially England and Wales, isn’t far behind. At the moment it’s mostly targeted at trans people but it is reported that… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Thank you, Kate, for looking beyond the CofE closed box, at what is happening in the wider world. We ignore that at our peril. Any legally given rights, freedoms and institutions created by act of government are vulnerable; what was created by one political administration can be destroyed by a successor. Ask anybody who used to work for the old General Teaching Council! And as we know only too well, politicians fighting to stay in office will throw anybody and anything under the proverbial bus if they can see any possible advantage in doing so. This is, ultimately, not just… Read more »

Charles Clapham
6 months ago

At this stage, I can’t help thinking that simply voting against GS2328 at General Synod is likely to play into the bishops’ hands. They will apologise profusely, insist on starting all over again, and so kick the can down the road another 8 years, just as they did when the Synod rejected GS2055 back in 2018. So I’d be interested in exploring how much support there is for something more significant, such as proposing a vote of no confidence in the House of Bishops – which might draw support from conservatives as well as progressives. My sense is that we… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

And after a vote of no confidence – what then ???

Charles Clapham
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

What then? A serious exploration of structural differentiation, in my view: it’s the only viable direction of travel.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

Forgive me, but would you characterize yourself as a progressive ?

I have been saying structural differentiation is the only way forward for a long time and have never encountered a progressive who would even entertain the idea.

If you are of a progressive view and see the value of a conversation about structured differentiation then you will find conservatives engage with you.

Charles Clapham
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

Otherwise, we’ll all still be here in 15 years time, with the same frustrations, having the same arguments, and going round in exactly the same circles – except for the not inconsiderable number of those who will have either (a) left the C of E in the meantime, or (b) died…

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

In response to your question: yes, Peter, from your perspective you would call me a liberal or progressive, insofar as I believe gay people should be able to be married in church, and gay clergy should be able to be married. I don’t quite know why there is so little interest in structural differentiation from the inclusive or progressive side. I imagine it is because many of them seem to believe they are winning the argument, and that it is only a matter of time before the whole church (or at least, the requisite 2/3 majority needed in Synod) will… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

The general conservative view would recognise that a settlement will have to involve accepting a model in which some Churches do as they see fit in regard same sex Rites.

There is no point in trying to sugar it up. We will go on saying such Rites should not happen, but we will obviously have to “get out of the way” of those clergy and bishops who wish to carry out such Rites.

They will never agree to structural differentiation without that freedom.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

LLF/PLF could be the high tide mark of centralisation and uniformity under ++JW. The H o B, Abps Council, and General Synod are breaking up under pressure they were not designed to bear. Strong and independent dioceses could in effect be the structural differentiation some are looking for.

Charles Clapham
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
6 months ago

Yes! I myself (as a vicar) would welcome oversight from a progressive bishop who understood and supported the inclusive ethos of the congregation, and allowed us to get on with our mission without having endless arguments about LGBT people for the next 20 years – and I’m sure there are conservatives who feel the same! . But what is on offer here in the current proposal achieves nothing and will not end any of the disputes. There are plenty of clergy and churches who already offer blessings of gay relationships in some fashion, using liturgy crafted from the marriage service,… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

There’s still no credible explanation for why we would need any structural differentiation for something that no one will be forced to do.

This is different from women bishops, where there was an ‘unavoidable’ element. It’s more like the re-marriage of divorcees issue.

If conservatives can have the integrity to accept that their inclusive colleagues should have freedom of conscience – just as conservatives themselves have been granted freedom of conscience over women – then all this can simply quieten down.

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

GS2328 is not what Synod members agreed to in February. This unthought-through and effectively unauthorised document, & the linked motion for November Synod, should promptly be withdrawn. Business Committee members/others will know what the procedural possibilities & consequences are.

In addition to it being not what Synod agreed to, it’s unthought-through. It will lead to an ungovernable polity, and so make an unholy mess of the structure of the Church of England.

Apart from that, it’s simply an embarrassingly poor document.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Lizzie Taylor
6 months ago

You are clearly right, but the Church of England is an episcopal church.

Bishops can commend whatever they want to. They cannot be disciplined, removed or even in any real sense censured by Synod. A vote of no confidence might be mustered, but would have no impact beyond the symbolic.

They have to share control of the church treasury with others, but apart from that consideration they are in complete control of events.

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

There’s hard power, there’s soft power, and there’re practical facts. All can variously win. Look at what happened to Tim Dakin.
In the end, things like votes of no confidence and threats of the intervention of Parliament can bring results.
Even the positive and public articulation of logic can win the day, on occasion.

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
6 months ago

I stood down from General Synod some years ago and haven’t kept up with the LLF process as closely as I once did but isn’t the ‘Prayers for a Covenanted Friendship’ proposal completely new? Out of the interior of whose head did it emerge and when? It’s very lightly worked compared with nearly everything else in the paper yet it’s arguably the most novel proposal of the lot – more so in my view than extending the traditional envelope of marriage to include additional people. As far as I’m aware, nothing like it has been offered before by any church… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Jane Charman
6 months ago

I must commend your generosity of spirit in assuming that this proposal came from somebody’s head.

Revdoc Mike
Revdoc Mike
Reply to  Jane Charman
6 months ago

Thank you Jane for your considered account of this ‘pastoral minefield’ as you say. Is it envisaged that parishes should receive any instruction as to what ‘Covenanted Friendships’ are supposed to be about? And what resources are (already??) in place to assist serving clergy in communicating this new addition to the ‘pastoral offices’ of the wider church? It seems ingenuous/ingenious of the House of Bishops to fail to deliver progress on what a lot of people actually want and instead offer something which they absolutely don’t and which they didn’t even ask for. The potential mayhem in parishes is exactly… Read more »

Revdoc Mike
Revdoc Mike
Reply to  Revdoc Mike
6 months ago

Having caught up with the paper I see there is a draft liturgy. The whole thing is utterly bizarre.

Charles Clapham
6 months ago

So after six years of LLF, something like a million pounds (?), and thousands of hours of work and consultation, we have achieved more or less nothing. And this seems to be the constant pattern for those of us with long enough memories (I was at theological college back in the mid-1990s, and have been reading, arguing and campaigning on these issues off and on for 30 years…) . In terms of offering prayer for lesbian and gay couples, for example, the bishops’ statement way back in 2005 said that whilst clergy should not provide services of blessing, they could… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
6 months ago

On top of all of which is the irony that a desire to end discrimination against LGBT people is not only the majority view in the country at large, and the majority view amongst practicing Anglicans, but (I suggest) it is even the majority view within so-called conservative churches! I see from the next Thinking Anglicans post that Richard Moy (a vicar just up the road from me) and Nicky Gumbel of HTB (just down the road in the opposite direction) are both at GSFA conference, no doubt banging the drum for “orthodoxy” and resistance to gay relationships. But I… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Peter
Peter
6 months ago

I think there is a real misunderstanding of the conservative position.

Differentiation has to involve conservatives relinquishing the means they currently have to block same sex Rites throughout the Church of England.

Firstly, because it will never happen without that concession.

More importantly, because conservatives will neither seek nor accept responsibility for the the conduct of such Rites.

For the avoidance of doubt, the equivalent “bottom line” for conservatives would be a constitutionally independent body of bishops.

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Yes, I think you are right, Peter. But we need to see that proposal in writing from e.g. the CEEC. And we also need recognition from the House of Bishops, and from the General Synod, that exploring what these proposals would look like in detail is the way forward. So far, this is only hinted at in GS2328, in a way which does not in any way allow for the differentiation those like me would want.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

I am sure CEEC would want to move forward but there has to be some sense, however fragile, that there are progressives who are willing to engage with them on the basis that the outcome will have to involve a new episcopal dispensation.

Borderman
Borderman
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

You are spot on. Archbishop Welby is not going to bring such a proposal forward so the CEEC and others are going to have to do it themselves. Perhaps both sides could work in unity to explore such proposals and propose them to the wider Church. An optimistic hope, I know, as distrust is ingrained and no-side is willing to give. Differentiation will require all Bishops making their position clear and so different outcomes in each Diocese. It would be ridiculous to ask that +Oxford or +Guildford, to name two clearly opposed Bishops, to cease their Diocesan role. Parishes should… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Once again the Church of England hierarchy’s obsession with sex, or rather, who may not have sex, is the only story in town… If it were a similar obsession with trying to outlaw online pornography, indecent images of children , or seeking redress for victims of rape or sexual violence ( that would be a good one) I might forgive them.
But this…..?? No wonder so few people want to join, and so many leave

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Differentiation may solve a problem for some ministers but it just makes the situation worse for LGBT Christians in those areas. I don’t have a particular problem with HTB opting out because there are a lot of neighbouring churches but I would have a huge problem with one of the multi-parish benefices opting out because there isn’t an alternative nearby.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

A general settlement would not mean and can never mean that an outcome is achieved that is not grievous to all parties. It is grievous in the extreme to accept a settlement in which same sex Rites are conducted at all, if you are a conservative.

A general settlement is the least worst option, that is all. If your benchmark is you will not accept anything of which you fundamentally disapprove, then you will never support an organised resolution.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Actually I am pointing out that for every one minister your structural differentiation helps, dozens of local LGBT people are made to suffer. That can’t be right

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Your thinking is based on the premise of asymmetry.

I would obviously say exactly the same as you would – in reverse. Differentiation means that local LGBT can continue to be blessed by a proper understanding of humanity.

You view my perspective as so inferior to yours that it should not even be permitted to be operative in public life.

I know you are wrong, but I am not insisting your view should be banned in the conduct of public matters.

There is just no basis for the presumption of moral superiority which is involved in your argument.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

So what then, is a ‘proper understanding of humanity’, in this or any other context?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Yes, I can’t see how it can be acceptable to create a permanent situation where certain parish churches are no-go areas for LGBT people. It’s bad enough that this is the case at all, without preserving it in formaldehyde for the foreseeable future.

I can’t see any good reason to pander to demands to set up a third province or anything similar. We’ve seen with the arrangements for ordaining women that these sorts of setup are a faustian bargain.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Nobody is demanding anything.

GS 2328 specifically references the issue of structural settlements

It is entirely reasonable to address the question as to what that might mean

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Learning from the situation of women bishops, I don’t think there is an appetite for anything permanent. Any arrangements should be for existing dissenting ministers only.

Charles Clapham
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

I don’t really disagree with any of the sentiments of Jo B, Kate Keates, or Lizzie Taylor. But to introduce what I’d like to see e.g. marriage for same-sex couples in the Church of England, we’d need a two-thirds majority in each house of the General Synod. Conservatives may be a minority in the church, but they are well organised, well funded, and passionate about this – and will therefore continue to block it not only for themselves but also for the rest of us. . In the long-term, I think the demographic make-up of the church is difficult to… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

The solution to this issue is obvious. Those churches in favour of SSM should use their resources (finance and people) to fund a new church and so provide an alternative.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Bob
6 months ago
Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

There are already plenty of underused church buildings with just one service a week on Sunday morning. All is needed is the support of the bishop to issue a BMO and then plant a congregation into the underused building. If there is such an overwhelming majority in favour of SSM they would be welcomed with open arms. Plenty of examples in England, mainly, it has to be said, carried out by evangelical churches.

Fr Andrew
Fr Andrew
Reply to  Bob
6 months ago

Why should the majority found a new church?

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

Please see concern raised by Kate Keates earlier about a lack of provision.

Fr Andrew
Fr Andrew
Reply to  Bob
6 months ago

Bob, it’s the minority that should found their new church if they wish to be differentiated.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

Agreed, those who want to change the church’s doctrine of marriage should found their own church.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Fr Andrew
6 months ago

I have replied to you.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

“…the equivalent “bottom line” for conservatives would be a constitutionally independent body of bishops.”

In what way, then, would this NOT be the creation of a schismatic new denomination?

And where have we seen anything coming from the major spokes-organizations for conservatives, such as CEEC, where such a “relinquishment” is said to be acceptable?

Last edited 6 months ago by Pat ONeill
Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

I have answered you point on schism before. I am not repeating the answer.

On CEEC, they could not have made themselves more clear that a new provincial model is needed.

Provinces in the Church of England are separate episcopal dispensations.

It is not rocket science.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

“Provinces in the Church of England are separate episcopal dispensations.”

Which can elect full voting members to General Synod and whose bishops and clergy are members of their respective Houses….and thus have the ability–by preventing those bodies from reaching the applicable supporting percentages of votes–to block any proposal coming from the other provinces.

Unless, of course, you envision a radical change in the rules that govern General Synod voting–something that, as yet, has not been proposed by anyone (CEEC or not) arguing for this “diffentiation,” as you term it.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

Alas, I am unmasked as a provocateur !

Read the documents that are open source, published in black and white and in plain English.

You are making a mountain out of a molehill. An amended voting system could be designed by the secretary of my cricket club over the course of a couple of hours. It is just about the least difficult problem we face.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Alas, the General Synod is not your cricket club….and any amended voting system would have to be approved by that body according to its own rules. Something I have learned from politics over the years–no one ever votes to decrease their own power.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

A rare and welcome point of agreement between us.

I think this prospect of the bishops giving up authority to allow a general settlement is vanishingly small.

It is still the right thing for them to do.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

At the moment the Scottish Government is taking the UK Government to court because the UK Government blocked a bill democratically passed by the Scottish Parliament. The two sides disagree whether the bill related to dissolved matters or reserved matters. There was a similar argument over a deposit scheme for bottles although it hasn’t reached court. It’s easy to see similar arguments would arise if the model you propose was adopted. For instance, what about sex education in Church of England schools. Since ‘orthodox’ Christians would remain within the provinces of Canterbury and York as well they could continue to… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

The issue of schools obviously needs attention. I do not accept your premise that Church of England schools are currently governed by people who would describe themselves as conservatives.

On the voting issue, I simply do not accept that is in any sense an insoluble issue.

I am not going to propose a new voting structure in a blog comment box. However, it is as obvious as the day is long that if the substantive issues were settled then the arithmetic you reference would not bring the settlement crashing to the ground.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

So analysing your responses here

1. You are proposing to create parishes with no safe worship provision for LGBT Christians

2. You propose a new province but don’t have a way to ensure progressive policies can be unhindered. Indeed, your proposal increases the number of ‘orthodox’ votes against such policies.

3. We have a clericalism proposal which provides pastoral assurance to ministers but offers NO guarantees to ordinary, lay LGBT Christians

And you wonder why there is no enthusiasm for your proposal?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Your points Point 1 I would raise exactly the same concern as your point 1 in relation to what you would like to see happen. Point 2 That is just not what I have said. I have said that getting the arithmetic right would happen. I have not proposed a seating plan for whatever Synodical programme might be needed. Are you therefore going to assert that I have the worst of intentions as to who gets to sit where ?? Point 3 I have, again, said nothing of the sort Kate, you do not progress a discussion by completely altering… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

Dream on. It will take a new General Synod quinquennium (2026-2031 or 2031-2036) to introduce equal marriage, but the odds are favourable. It would also need a differently composed General Synod to create a Third Province (call it what you will). The anger against the conservatives is such that few will vote to accommodate their scruples. And why should they? If they want to leave the Church of England (as many are indicating now) why should ‘the Club’ (the Church by law established) bend over backwards to assist resigning members? Think Brexit.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

Anthony.

You misunderstand me. I think a third province is very unlikely. I also regard it as a grievous prospect.

I do not dream of it happening. Nobody will be accommodating me if it does happen. You entirely mis represent conservative sentiment.

I think the current state of affairs is both intolerable and intractable. A general settlement is the least worst option.

You choose to put your faith in future elections. All I can say is good luck with that one.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

What an abject mess. These machinations are now The Body of Christ.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

A purely ‘neutral’ comment! Brexit would never have happened if a two-thirds majority of votes had been a requirement. A friend writing from USA pointed out that any change to the US Constitution needed an unequivocal two-thirds majority; likewise GS! The US writer was frankly amazed that such a major constitutional decision was made on a simple majority vote.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 months ago

This US writer is likewise amazed! Amendments to the US Constitution require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, plus ratification by three-quarters of the States.

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
6 months ago

It’s all getting very silly……and there are some very silly and dishonest people around. I was at the Press launch of “Homosexual Relationships” in 1979 (Gloucester Report) and we have not moved on since then. The Church of England is just not reading where society is at.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Robert Ellis
6 months ago

Thing is, I think it’s ok to read where society is at and conclude that it’s wrong. I do, however, think that the church has to allow itself to be challenged and look afresh at things in the light of what wider society is doing, because we are always at risk of treating the spirit of the previous age as definitive. I think the church is right to expect fidelity in marriage, for example, despite what wider culture may say justifying affairs. The problem with regards LGBT people isn’t that the church is not reading where society is at, it’s… Read more »

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
6 months ago

At this rate, Rome is going to be blessing same-sex couples before Canterbury does. No wonder we’re running out of young people.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  FearandTremolo
6 months ago

And middle aged and late middle aged people. It’s not just the young who are fed up with the unpleasant views of the conservatives. Nor is the spectacle of the bishops waving about like reeds in the wind very edifying for the young or the old.

Peter
Peter
6 months ago

Charles (Clapham),

Revd John Dunnett, CEEC National Director, would certainly want to reach out to you, if you are interested in dialogue around a general settlement.

If you could find even just three or four other progressive clergy to join you in the advocacy of dialogue with conservatives, that would really start something interesting and possibly begin to break the deadlock.

I wish you every blessing.

(See the link below as a contact, though I am sure as fellow clergy you have your own means of informal contact).

Contact – The Church of England Evangelical Council (ceec.info)

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

I am not a member of the Church of England, so maybe my experience doesn’t count here, but when I was on the ‘conservative’ side of this issue, I worked together in mission, ministry and outreach with several clergy colleagues who were on the ‘liberal’ side. I respected their love for Christ and their care for the poor, and was grateful to be in partnership with them. I would have been very sad to see our church formally split into two over this one issue, which would, in my view, have made sex more important than outreach to the poor,… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

Tim, I am not aware of anybody who is clamouring for a divorce. It is a grievous and heartbreaking situation in which we find ourselves. I think it is difficult to convey the sense of dismay and despair which now hangs over the Church of England. There is a palpable sense on all sides that the bishops have completely lost the confidence of all concerned. They are now producing proposals and plans that are simply risible in regard to their lack of rigour and coherence. The past six and a half years have achieved absolutely nothing, Tim. Nothing. That is… Read more »

Peter
Peter
6 months ago

Richard Moy adopts a deeply inappropriate tone in his piece.

A number of the people he mentions are working to salvage something from the wreckage, but these are days of lament and loss for all of us.

There are no generals. There are no winners. There will be no triumph.

The Gospel will prevail, but I will grieve with Tim Chesterton before I will rejoice with a man such as Moy

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Charles Clapham
6 months ago

I am on the progressive side here, but even I find I am persuaded by much of Andrew Goddard’s critique of the incoherence of GS2328.  . I was never a great believer in the LLF process: the bishops’ assumption that the problem was that the rest of us needed educating was rather patronising; and I never imagined that large numbers would engage with the final materials. But I hoped at least the process would help the bishops themselves to produce better informed proposals. But there is really no evidence of this in GS2328. . For example, what about the concept… Read more »

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