The House of Bishops Pastoral Statement on civil partnerships has made life in the Church of England difficult for many people in the last fortnight.
Many people have read it but for those who wish to you can find it here.
The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, was the first bishop to distance herself from the statement saying that it had "fanned into flame unnecessary pain and distress" , and in our diocese the Bishop of Reading, Olivia Graham, has said [the statement is] "Cold. Legalistic. Loveless. Astonishing timing — mid LLF discussions. Please know that Bishops are not of a mind on this."
In a letter yesterday Bishop Colin (Bishop of Dorchester and acting Bishop of Oxford) writes: 'Together with +Steven, +Olivia and +Alan, I am sorry for the distress that the statement has caused. The statement has also caused consternation among the bishops in this Diocese and beyond. There will be further discussion at the College of Bishops tomorrow and, we hope, something more fitting may emerge.'
A letter of protest with over 3000 signatures has been sent to the archbishops. Felicity, Martin, David (Meara), Marian, Sarah, and Meghann have signed this letter, as have the Bishop of Buckingham, the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, and the Principal of Cudddesdon Theological College. At the moment it is still possible to sign the letter if anyone wishes.
In the press the Anglican Church has been held up as a laughing stock more interested in sex than love, and vindicating those who regard us as judgmental, out of touch with social reality, and irrelevant to modern life. Giles Fraser's Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 was a piece that we found helpful and positive.
The staff team in the Parish of Kidlington and Hampton Poyle have discussed the pastoral statement and we would like to make clear that all of us, and our three churches in Kidlington and Hampton Poyle are committed to:
In the meantime we will continue to work as we have been doing so that our three churches will stand as places of grace, love, prayer, and open hospitality for all who seek God in any way.
If you have ever had hurtful harmful experiences of the church anywhere and feel able to talk, we will LISTEN, take you seriously, and take action if needed.
If you are feeling unwelcome please know that your presence here is valuable to God and to us, and we will defend your right to be here.
We do not think it is any of our business what does or does not go on behind closed doors between consenting adults, and we will not inquire.
Felicity, Martin, David, Marian, Mervyn, Jane, Sarah and Meghann29/1/2020