Reflection 4th August 2013

Archbishop commits to action on homophobic bullying in church schools

In his Presidential Address, Archbishop Justin made an unexpected and strong commitment to deal with bullying in church schools. Here is what he said: (emphasis added)

The majority of the population rightly detests homophobic behaviour or anything that looks like it. And sometimes they look at us and see what they don’t like. I don’t like saying that. I’ve resisted that thought. But in that [House of Lords] debate I heard it, and I could not walk away from it. We all know that it is utterly horrifying. to hear, as we did this week, of gay people executed in Iran for being gay, or equivalents elsewhere. With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying; but we must also take action. We are therefore developing a programme for use in our schools, taking the best advice we can find anywhere, that specifically targets such bullying. More than that, we need also to ensure that what we do and say in this Synod, as we debate these issues, demonstrates above all the lavish love of God to all of us, who are all without exception sinners. Again this requires radical and prophetic words which lavish gracious truth.

This was clearly unexpected, as no hint such a programme was mentioned in the Answers prepared by the staff of the Board of Education for the Bishop of Oxford to give to two Questions that had been put down for the session that followed the speech. In the event, those Questions were not reached by the end of the session but the full Q and A texts can be read at

(Reflections are provided each week by a member of the congregation.)

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