Civil Partnerships and Marriage
In 2019 the British Government opened civil partnerships to heterosexual couples as well as to same sex couples, giving two options for legal recognition of two people choosing to live together in an exclusive relationship regardless of their genders: marriage and civil partnership.
The Bishops’ Statement
In December 2019 the House of Bishops of the Church of England formulated, and in January 2020 issued, a Pastoral Statement stating that the teaching of the church was that heterosexual marriage was the only relationship between two people within which it was theologically supportable that sexual intercourse should take place.
This caused a huge amount of discussion, dismay and dissent. It is useful to examine what has occurred and why.
Sara Gillingham writes on her experience of leaving Church after experiencing ‘Living in Love and Faith’
It is now over six months since I made the decision to leave the Church of England, and I feel far better for doing so.
I was left scarred by my experience of the inner machinations of the Church and the Living in Love and Faith Project. It was some years ago at the Regional Shared Conversations that I shared my experience of growing up as a Christian with intersex traits (also known as ‘variations in sex characteristics’, VSC). For the uninitiated, intersex traits can include variations in chromosomes, gonads or genitalia that do not fit the typical binary of what it is to be born male or female (not to be confused with transgender).
During this time I had people without invitation praying for me to be healed, ordained priests refusing to share the Peace with me, being labelled ‘disordered’ and having rumours spread through my Diocese that I was really a man with bad intentions. But I have frankly moved on from this bad experience of Church by simply leaving it.
Living in Living in Love and Faith is a major conference which will take place next year, in the same month as the publication of the Church's report on sexuality, and will feature speakers including Jayne Ozanne, Tina Beardsley and Adrian Thatcher.
The Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops worldwide will meet in the same month, where sexuality issues are also likely to feature. Set within this background, Modern Church's conference will explore how the Christian Gospel affirms, accepts and welcomes everyone, whatever their identity, gender or sexuality, and without reservation or ambiguity.
Booking is now open, and spaces are limited. See here for details.
This conference is an event organised by Modern Church, and is not sponsored by the Church of England.
Modern Church has been a membership organisation since it began in 1898. After 120 years we are offering a new way of being a part of the wider Modern Church network and supporting the work of bringing progressive thought to more people.
From this summer churches and individuals can become Affiliates of Modern Church. Affiliates will receive a printed copy our revamped quarterly publication ‘Signs of the Times’ (churches affiliating will receive 5 copies to use as they like). Affiliates will also have access to all our online resources, our e-newsletter, access to local/regional meetings and conferences, and are eligible for a discounted rate for our annual. Churches affiliating can also use the Modern Church logo on their online and printed material.