LGBTI Mission Response

Wednesday, 13 July 2016LGBTI Mission responds to shared conversations

This press release was issued yesterday by LGBTI Mission:

LGBTI Mission calls on Church of England to move forward following completion of Shared Conversations

The LGBTI Mission rejoices that almost all General Synod members were willing and able to engage in conversation and listening about human sexuality. We commend David Porter and his team for their excellent work in bringing this about. It is also clear that very many throughout the Church of England want to see change soon, as a priority for mission.

We call on the House of Bishops to bring forward bold proposals that enable the Church of England to move towards LGBTI equality, of course with proper safeguards for those who cannot, in conscience, accept any such changes.

Same-sex marriage is only one item on the table. There are other important issues, which could be resolved sooner and more easily. Some do not need synodical approval. We urge the bishops to review urgently all the areas listed in our LGBTI Mission launch document.

We also ask bishops to consult fully with their own LGBTI laity and clergy who are directly and personally affected by current discriminatory policies.

Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission said: “Now is the time to move forward and take action. Church leaders and LGBTI church members, of all convictions, need to work together to devise answers to these problems. We now have an opportunity to change the way that LGBTI people are treated in the Church. A good start would be to have a staff member funded to coordinate work in this area and show that the national Church is serious about change.”

Two specific examples of other urgent issues are:

There is a Blackburn Diocesan Synod Motion (see text below) awaiting General Synod debate, which asks the Church to improve its welcome to Transgender people and for the House of Bishops to recommend suitable rites and prayers to mark their transition journeys. Debate on this was recently deferred a second time. We urge the bishops to endorse that motion and to ensure it is debated without further delay.

An issue not requiring synodical action is the current ban on clergy entering same-sex civil marriage, contained in paragraph 27 of the House’s February 2014 Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The widely inconsistent application of this has brought the Church into serious disrepute. It must be reconsidered urgently.

Media reports suggest the bishops may revive the 2013 Pilling Report recommendation (see Recommendations 16 and 17 on page 118) to allow clergy who wish to do so to “mark the formation of a permanent same-sex relationship in a public service” but only as a “pastoral accommodation” without authorizing any formal liturgy. This would be welcome as an interim step towards the long-term goal of enabling same-sex marriages in the Church of England. But the addition of approved liturgical forms would improve clarity and give clergy protection against unwanted disciplinary complaints.

ENDS

The Blackburn Diocesan Synod motion is as follows:

WELCOMING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE

…to move on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod:

‘That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.’

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 July 2016
_________________________________________________________________
Thanks to Simon Sarmiento, of ‘Thinking Anglicans’ and ‘LGBTI Mission’, for this response by the Mission to the outcome of the C. of E. General Synod discussions on the issue of  Human Sexuality at its recent meeting.
Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission said: “Now is the time to move forward and take action. Church leaders and LGBTI church members, of all convictions, need to work together to devise answers to these problems. We now have an opportunity to change the way that LGBTI people are treated in the Church. A good start would be to have a staff member funded to coordinate work in this area and show that the national Church is serious about change.” 
From this report, by the newly-constituted Anglican ‘LGBTI Mission’, there would seem to be reason for a guarded optimism that the 48-hour session on this important subject; Human Sexuality – especially as it concerns the Church’s treatment of the LGBTI community in the Church – will have begun the process of ridding the Church of England of its traditional conservative attitude towards the existence of different understandings of sexual orientation that are different from the binary ‘norm’.
It is now time the Church to make good on the recent declarations made at the January Primates’ Meeting that condemned homophobia and the culture of violence against homosexuals that is endemic in certain countries where the Anglican Church is planted.
With the narrow defeat (by one vote) of the Anglican Church of Canada‘s bid to change its embargo against Same-Sex Marriage – together with the United Reform Church in the U.K. passing legislation to allow Same-Sex Marriage on a parish to parish basis; the Church of England will need to bring some resolution to the current stand-off on the issue.
As a footnote, the report contains the news of the Blackburn Diocese’s intention to enact a policy of acceptance of transgender people into the Church, with a request for appropriate pastoral measures for recognition of the change of gender identity. This would seem to be one step further than that envisaged by the C. of e. General Synod, but nevertheless an important move towards full inclusion of everyone into the Body of Christ.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Advertisements

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to LGBTI Mission Response

  1. Ian says:

    Father, just a note. As I understand it, the URC General Assembly vote was to uphold the congregational polity of that body. That is why it passed by such a large majority. It was not a vote for marriage equality per se, but a vote that such decisions belonged to individual congregations. How many will vote for it, and how many against, remains to be seen.

    • kiwianglo says:

      Dear Ian,

      In a climate of very few concessions in the fight against homophobia, URC’s eirenic decision is a great beginning. In fact, perhaps it is better left to the individual parishes to decide on their own policy, this will ensure that no ‘false’ accommodations are made. We, in ACANZP, are still a long way from such an openness to S/S Blessings even. Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s