Thursday, 18 April 2013
Archbishop to meet LGBT Anglicans and Peter Tatchell
The Archbishop of Canterbury will have two separate meetings today relating to LGBT issues:
A meeting between the LGB&T Anglican Coalition and the Archbishop has been arranged for the 18th April. Major points which the Coalition wishes to put to the Archbishop are as follows:
How does the Archbishop intend to get a better understanding and appreciation of the frustration LGBT Christians are experiencing in the Church of England and what plans does he have to address this? How aware is the Archbishop that some parishes are inhospitable places for LGB&T people? Will he take a lead in helping to make it a safer place for them? If so, how and when does he propose to do this? How much experience does the Archbishop have of transgender people, and what are his thoughts and plans for greater transgender inclusion in the Church of England. What are the Archbishop’s views on the Church of England permitting churches to offer prayer and dedication (or prayer and thanksgiving) for couples who have had a civil partnership (or civil marriage) ceremony? What are the Archbishop’s views on liturgies of blessing for same sex couples? What protection can clergy who are in Civil Partnerships expect from diocesan bishops who are openly hostile to such couples and are perceived as deeply homophobic? What opportunities might there be for the care of LGB&T ordinands at theological colleges? The Archbishop’s views on the need for greater education on LGB&T issues within the Church of England. The Archbishop’s views on the House of Bishops reports on Civil Partnerships and Human Sexuality.
Second in the afternoon he will meet Peter Tatchell. There is a press statement about that also: Archbishop Welby to meet Peter Tatchell. This follows the open letter he sent to the archbishop which TA reported here.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento (Thinking Anglicans) on Thursday, 18 April 2013
Archbishop Justin Welby is all set for a busy day Today (Thursday, 18 April). Whatever the outcome of these meetings with members of the LGBT community, there can be little doubt that the Archbishop is intent on fulfilling his promise – to learn more about the phenomenon of gender and sexuality complexities, from people who actually do know something about them – from LGBT people themselves.
One cannot but congratulate Archbishop Justin for his willingness to actually engage with people on their own ground, with an ear open to the actualities of the situation. So often, Church Leaders are content to discuss such matters in consultation with other Church Leaders – rather than with the people who have been marginalised by the Church for so long they have almost lost heart about ever being listened to without prejudice.
Those of us who are aware of the pain and struggle of authentically Gay and Trans-gender people are already aware of the institutional homophobia and misogyny that has been the implacable ‘face’ of the Church – even though the world has moved on from such out-dated and cruel discriminatory behaviour – except in those church communities where people have been willing to sit down with the marginalised, in a serious effort to understand what it is that motivates them to behave differently from the heterosexual majority. What Gays and other minority groups are wanting to know is, whether, or not, the Gospel has anything to offer them besides calumny and distaste.
The questions to be put to the Archbishop will not be easily answerable, but they are questions that do need to be answered – if the Church of England is to be seen to care about people presently considered by the Church to be on the margins of polite society.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand