The Church of England has produced resources relating to Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage
21st April 2021Church News
The Church of England has been struggling for some time to find ways of resolving the disagreements that exist at all levels within the church on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, and on our pastoral practices in relation to these questions. These are questions which some of us may not want to consider and may instinctively seek to avoid. For some of us they may be painful and difficult to contemplate. But they will not easily go away and we cannot ignore them for much longer.
Following the General Synod meeting of February 2017 the Archbishops issued a joint letter in which they said that
‘We need a radical new Christian inclusion in the church. This must be founded in Scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it; it must be based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and a proper twenty-first century understanding of being human and being sexual.’
This led to the Living in Love and Faith project, the results of which were published earlier this year in the form of a set of resources, including a book, a short course, video materials and a comprehensive reading list.
The Bishops of the Church of England have invited every one of us to engage with these resources and to learn ‘…how the Christian understanding of God relates to questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.’ Above all they exhort us to walk with them ‘…in a new stage of our common life in Christ so that speaking the truth in love, godly discernment and right decisions can be made over contested matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage’. Their prayer is that ‘…all of us, the people of God, take time and listen and learn together.’
It is important to note that there is no agenda behind these materials. The aim is enlightenment, to shine a light on what for some people are dark corners and to discern ways in which Christians might understand the issues. Where there are disagreements and doubts, and there will be some, the hope is that we can all co-exist together and live with them and be guided ultimately by love.
The Diocese of Durham discussed this at Diocesan Synod in May and everyone is encouraged to study the materials and, if possible, attend a Living in Love and Faith study course which parishes and deaneries are being encouraged to provide later this year.
It is planned to hold a Parish course in church on 6 Wednesdays from September 15th at 7.00pm. There will also be a Deanery course on 6 Thursdays using Zoom from 21st October at 7.00pm.
Living in Love and Faith materials are available at https://www.churchofengland.org/LLF You can download a pdf version of the book and/or access a wide range of videos and other materials and it’s all free.