Despite concerns about the perceived reluctance of the Church of England to further explore the need for further examination of institutional injustice meted out to people who are part of the LGBTQI community in that Church; the Diocese of London – in this article on the diocesan website – is encouraging its clergy and parishes to continue in dialogue about gender and sexuality, in ways that will look to end the current unease about the discussion of such matters on the local level.
The truth is; that until these important issues are addressed in and by the wider Church, those whose gender or sexual identity is other than the binary ‘norm’ will not be able to feel either safe or welcomed, or at all comfortable with their fuller participation in the mission or ministry of the Church. The old understanding, for instance, of the tabus existing around issues of gender and sexuality in Faith communities will not be overcome until people who are different from the binary ‘norm’ are actually listened to and welcomed as who they actually are created to be. Only then will such people be able to live with their membership of the Church in Faith, Hope and Love – which is the heritage of every human being made in the Divine Image and Likeness.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Living in Love and Faith additional resources
Living in Love and Faith (LLF) is a collection of resources to enable Christian teaching and learning about Identity, Sexuality, Relationships and Marriage.
Churches across the country have been running the LLF course in their communities, after which they have been encouraged to fill out a survey. The survey deadline has been extended to 30 April 2022 (because of the pandemic).
The General Synod and College and House of Bishops will engage from May onwards.
LLF has always been about deepening our relationships and our understanding of one another by having better conversations, as members of Christ’s body, with those whose views and lived experiences are very different from our own; learning to listen to one another’s stories and to pray and reflect well together on issues about which we deeply disagree.
It will never be too late to do that, even after 30th April 2022.
Additional resources March 2022
- LLF in one day. An outline of how you could run the LLF course in one day, from 9.45am – 5pm.
- Running groups with young people or adults. An introduction and session notes for both.
- Leading courses with autistic participants. Tips for making autistic people feel comfortable whilst completing the course. It is particularly tailored towards the LLF course but the themes are very much transferrable to almost any area of life.
- Facilitating LLF groups – a short guide
Esther Stewart is the Communications and Digital Content manager for the Diocese of London.