Living in Love and Faith

The Church of England has published a landmark set of resources to help individuals, parishes, deaneries and dioceses, reflect on our shared humanity and sexual identity.

The product of three years’ work by more than 40 people, led by the Bishop of Coventry, Living in Love and Faith includes a 480-page book, a series of films and podcasts, a course and an online library of other publications, in what is thought to be the most extensive work in this area by any faith group in the world.

They follow an appeal by the House of Bishops to the whole Church of England to participate in learning together, using the resources for open, honest and gracious discussion, listening and learning.

All the resources can be found on the Living in Love and Faith Learning Resource Hub

Conversations to be supported across the Diocese

In a letter to clergy, lay ministers and other role holders in the Diocese, both Bishop James and Bishop Simon have commended the materials:

"When work first began on Living in Love and Faith, no one could have imagined the changed and challenging context within which their endeavours would be received. Yet as we wrestle with many questions at this time, reflection on identity and relationship will always be present and important. 
 
"Our recommendation is, therefore, that we take time to read and reflect on the materials, individually and together, seeking to listen to all sides of the debate, as we engage with one another, scripture and society with open-heartedness and integrity. 

In order to support the whole diocesan family with this process, there are plans to offer some diocesan organised opportunities in 2021 for conversation and listening with the help of the materials.

The first of these will take place on 1 May 2021 - see details below

The bishops have also encouraged that our listening and conversation to be one of grace and compassion:

"These issues go to the heart of what it means to be human, and especially touches upon the lives of people who feel marginalised by the Church, so we should debate with compassion and sensitivity, seeking prayerful wisdom from God and aiming at all times to show the fruit of the Spirit as St Paul describes it in Galatians 6; that is, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What happens now?

It is anticipated that the period of church-wide learning and engagement will take place during 2021. The House of Bishops will then bring the discernment and decision-making to a timely conclusion in 2022 which would then be put before Synod.

A group of bishops, chaired by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, will lead the process of discernment and decision-making about a way forward for the church in relation to human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

Diocesan Living in Love Consultative Group

Bishop James has set up a consultative group that will support the roll out of the Living in Love and Faith resources. 

This group includes:

  • Dr Mike Lawes
  • Mrs Cheryl Trice
  • Mrs Jenny Ross
  • Father Clive Jones
  • The Rev Jane Winter (LLF Diocesan Advocate)
  • The Rev Ade Lawal
  • The Rev Ren Harding
  • The Rev Nick Cornell; and,
  • The Rev Victoria Pask.

The Reverend Jane Winter will act as LLF Diocesan Advocate, which is a role required in each diocese. This is advocacy for the process itself, and not any particular outcome. 

Jane will point people to resources and assist with learning events, including supporting parishes engaging with the LLF course.  She is our link person with the national Next Steps group which has the task of ensuring that the church-wide process of learning and discernment will be gathered, listened to and reflected on by the bishops together with members of General Synod as they discern the way forward for the Church of England in a process that will be concluded in 2022.

Diocesan Living in Love and Faith Chaplain

The Reverend Joel Love is the diocesan LLF chaplain.

He is available to support any who might be grateful for pastoral support at any stage and he will also be available at the webinar, either privately on the chat function or by email, if people are finding anything difficult in the presentations as they are happening.

Diocesan taster day

Taking place on Saturday 1 May, 9.30am to 1pm, all are invited to join an online Diocesan event offering an opportunity to learn about the vision and purpose of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) project.

The webinar will include an introduction to the LLF resources and provide space for us to sample some of the course material.  It will also include a time of worship. 

Our guest speaker is Dr Eeva John, who is the National Enabling Officer for LLF and brings a wealth of experience and sensitivity to the debate. 

Bishop Simon says:

"I am sure we will all want to engage with the materials in a Christ-like spirit of loving kindness, from which greater honesty and deeper understanding can emerge.  My hope is that this webinar will be a step along this way and that each congregation may be able to send at least one person to the day."

For more details and to book, please click here.

**The Reverend Joel Love is the diocesan LLF chaplain, he will also be available at the webinar, either privately on the chat function or by email, if people are finding anything difficult in the presentations as they are happening.

Other groups and resources

There are other groups within but independent to the diocese, who are also supporting dialogue and engagement with the resources. They are organising additional events and opportunities which all are invited to attend.

Rochester MoSAIC group -  The Revd Cathy Knight Scott vicar.sjs.asfc@gmail.com

Rochester Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship - The Revd Tim Edwards: rev.tim.edwards@gmail.com

 

Books: The following books have also been brought to our attention:

  • 'Living in love and faith - a concise introduction and review.' by Dr Martin Davie. A theological consultant to the Church of England Evangelical Council and lay member of the Diocese of Rochester. A concise introduction to the the Living in Love and Faith resources offering a critical assessment of them from an Evangelical viewpoint. This can be obtained from Latimer Trust at https://www.latimertrust.org.
  • 'Living in Love and Faith - a biblical response.' An in depth response to the Living in Love and Faith resources designed for clergy and others who want to think more deeply about them. Published by Dictum Press on 6 April with a foreword by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. More details can be found at https://dictumpress.com/living-in-love-and-faith.

 

If you aware of any groups or resources that it would be helpful to highlight, please contact communications@rochester.anglican.org  

 

 

 

 

 




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