In the light of our time together, we want to offer some reflections on current debates and developments in the Church of England in the area of human sexuality. We do so with humility and some hesitation. Pastoral letter homosexuality is not easy to make a meaningful contribution to the present debate for a number of reasons.
But we have received many requests for guidance and we are convinced that remaining silent on these issues is not serving the Church well.
What is the national process? You will remember that the Pilling Report in was followed by a listening process with a series of regional conversations.
The House of Bishops then brought to the General Synod in Februarya report with proposals on how to move forward from the Shared Conversations. Very unusually, the General Synod voted not to take note of the document. In a pastoral letter issued after this debate, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York announced the formation of a Pastoral Advisory Group chaired by the Bishop of Newcastle and the development of a comprehensive document on human sexuality to be led Pastoral letter homosexuality the Bishop of Coventry.
They emphasise the love of God for all people: In these discussions, no person is a problem or an issue. People are made in Pastoral letter homosexuality image of God.
All of us, without exception, are loved and called in Christ. The College of Bishops met in early September this year and engaged with the work "Pastoral letter homosexuality" the Pastoral Advisory Group and the emerging project to develop learning and teaching resources, now called Living in Love and Faith.
The groups working on Living in Love and Faith are hoping to publish their work in a variety of Pastoral letter homosexuality in early How open and authentically themselves they may be in this is the issue at stake.
As a Church we have continually failed our sisters and brothers in Christ. We are also aware of the strongly held views of many in these debates, grounded in deep convictions. We are aware that the exchanges themselves can be hurtful and damaging especially when conducted through social media or rapid email exchanges, and particularly for those whose very identity is problematised.
Bullying and harassment are damaging and not acceptable as part of the reasoned and loving debate the Church needs to have. We are mindful of the fact that a number of individuals within this Diocese holding different views are currently playing a role in national and international debates. We hope that each will be supported and respected by their home diocese in the ministry to which they have been called.
Talking about sexuality and gender identity in the Church may "Pastoral letter homosexuality," and often is, difficult.
It involves our deeply personal loves and the attachments that shape them; our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with God and others, and our approach to Scripture and the core convictions of our faith.
To talk about these things Pastoral letter homosexuality to make ourselves vulnerable. Moreover, in the Church of England conversations about these matters often bear a weight of pain and distrust caused by the Pastoral letter homosexuality and present experiences of hurt, exclusion and misunderstanding.
However, many speak of such conversations as being ultimately liberating and positive. Debates about human sexuality and gender identity in the Church seem likely to continue, and perhaps to grow in intensity, over the coming years. It is important that these debates should be grounded in Scripture, reason and tradition as well as in deep prayer and our common life of worship.
We want to commend to the Diocese of Oxford the five principles Pastoral letter homosexuality commended to the Diocese of Lichfield by Bishop Michael Ipgrave and his colleagues. Such radical Christian inclusion brings practical consequences for our local churches and for our Diocese as a whole:. As Bishops we are receiving an increasing number of enquiries seeking guidance in this area.
There is no authorised public liturgy for such prayers. However, there is positive encouragement for clergy to respond pastorally and sensitively. We warmly welcome dialogue and conversation with clergy across the Diocese who are looking for further guidance. This is, of course, one of the key areas under review in the Pastoral Advisory Group.
Over the summer we have been seeking to learn from other dioceses in this area, including in the Church in Wales.
The team will probably take the form of a volunteer chaplain or chaplains in each episcopal area giving time to this ministry alongside their other work. We will seek to be honest about our own views and also listen with respect to the views of others. If Pastoral letter homosexuality would like to contribute to this group or feed in reflections we have created an email account for this purpose: All things and all people hold together in Christ.
The way we engage in debate in areas of difference is part of our witness to the world. We are to clothe ourselves in this as in everything else with love.