Living in Love and Faith

Living in Love and Faith (LLF)

Living in Love and Faith set out to inspire people to think more deeply about what it means to be human and to live in love and faith with one another. It tackled the tough questions and the divisions among Christians about what it means to follow Jesus in a society in which understandings and practices of gender, sexuality and marriage continue to change.

In 2021 about 30 people attended the adult version of the course. JGL youth also did the course. Many of those attending were keen that our parish does more to welcome and include everyone whatever their sexuality or gender. Others grappled with the material and came to no firm conclusion/ resolution, and a few stood by their support of the church’s traditional view of sexual ethics regarding same sex relationships.
It was formed to discuss what steps our parish takes next, acting on the desire of many to welcome and include everyone whatever their sexuality, but also taking particular care to keep people of all viewpoints informed and included in the way forward.

On June 12th 2023 the PCC agreed the LLF next steps team recommendations to:

1.    To state on our website and elsewhere “All welcome, no exceptions, to come as you are.”
2.    To further engage all our congregations with these issues, some members of the LLF team have written explaining their journey of understanding and how they have got to their current position and these will be shared in paper form. The hope is that this will open up conversation more widely across the parish and to hear everyone’s voices and viewpoints.
3.    To state on our website and elsewhere that there are members of the clergy team who are willing to do same sex blessings.
4.    For the LLF next steps team to change its name to the Welcome and Inclusion team and to expand its remit to thinking about welcome and inclusion more broadly.

Resources to listen to, read or watch

Here is a sermon our Vicar Ben Goodyear preached to start our recent sermon series on the book of Romans and shares his own LLF journey of understanding.

Here are some resources that some people have found helpful from the Parish Living in Love and Faith next steps team.  We are not recommending these or saying that we agree with everything.

Those on the Living in Love and Faith Next Steps team are: Adjoa Andoh-Cunnell, Jo Alexandre, Jonathan Bellamy, Sara Bredemear, Simon Brindley, Ben Goodyear, Rhianna Goodyear, David Milner, Gill Tayleur.

We have deliberately provided resources here that reflect a wide variety of differing viewpoints to help us understand other people’s views better.

This parish doesn’t hold a particular stance, but we provide these as useful resources as we continue to think through our next steps.

Books/Papers

At February 2023 General Synod, it was voted to allow clergy to bless same sex couples in church and voted to “lament and repent” of the failure of the Church to welcome LGBTQI+ people and for the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced – and continue to experience – in churches.. They acknowledged that the proposed way forward does not go nearly far enough for many, but too far for others. Our Parish ‘Living in Love and Faith’ team will be meeting next in March to discuss what further steps to take as a parish to be welcoming and inclusive to all. You can read more about what was voted on, here:
https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/press-releases/prayers-gods-blessing-same-sex-couples-take-step-forward-after-synod
The full response from the Bishops of the Church of England to the Living in Love and Faith process is here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2023-01/GS%202289%20Living%20in%20Love%20and%20Faith.pdf

Bishop Christopher wrote a letter in advance of Synod: https://southwark.anglican.org/news-events/news/latest-news/living-in-love-and-faith-letter-from-bishop-christopher-to-the-diocese-of-southwark/

The Bishop of Oxford’s Steven Croft booklet* Together in Love and Faith that Bishop Christopher refers too which states a similar way forward with some Biblical backing to his rational: https://d3hgrlq6yacptf.cloudfront.net/61f2fd86f0ee5/content/pages/documents/together-in-love-and-faith.pdf

There is also a conservative response to the Bishop of Oxford by Vaughn Roberts which can be viewed here https://ceec.info/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Vaughan-Roberts-Together-in-Love-and-Faith-a-response.pdf

The Possibility of Difference by Marcus Green

Same sex relationships by John Stott

Love means Love by David Runcorn.

How to Read the Bible for all its Worth by Fee and Stuart

Visit https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/living-love-and-faith
which is full of resources including podcasts, books and videos.

You can download or purchase a paper copy of the The LLF Book from here. We also have a few copies you can borrow from Parish Office ( or 02077374978).

You can subscribe to listen to the LLF Podcasts here or on whatever podcast app you use.

The Living in Love and Faith Report which

Websites

You might like to start with these four websites represent some of the views held by people in the UK.

https://www.qchristian.org/resources/theology#bible
“Q Christian Fellowship is cultivating radical belonging” for all

https://www.livingout.org/
“We want to see Christians living out their sexuality and identity in ways that enable all to flourish in Christ-like faithfulness.”

http://www.courage.org.uk/articles/article.asp?id=136
“Why evangelicals must think again about homosexuality.”


http://www.ceec.info/the-beautiful-story.html
“The Church of England Evangelical Council is pleased to present ‘The Beautiful Story’ – a film to encourage and enable evangelicals to engage and contend in discussions about human sexuality.”

For wider views still, these North American websites have interesting material:

https://outreach.faith/2022/09/walter-brueggemann-how-to-read-the-bible-on-homosexuality/?fbclid=IwAR1n6nky0uVqQWRAAxGLlCQ3Efbb63XuPLNH-Uj6R_VIqwfoU3L9Y6R3IE4

“Walter Brueggemann: How to read the Bible on homosexuality”


https://www.freedhearts.org/
“Changing the conversation on love & inclusion. Freeing hearts to love & be loved.”

https://www.redeemer.com/redeemer-report/article/the_bible_and_same_sex_relationships_a_review_article
“The Bible and same sex relationships: A review article” by Tim Keller