Category Archives: CofE

Response to the Bishops’ ‘Pastoral Statement’

The House of Bishops of the Church of England recently released a ‘pastoral statement’ on civil partnerships which has received considerable attention in the press, and has caused controversy in the church and beyond. This is our considered response:

All Hallows’ Church Leeds
Response to the Bishops’ ‘Pastoral Statement’

Friday 31 January 2020

The House of Bishops of the Church of England recently released a ‘pastoral statement’ on civil partnerships which has received considerable attention in the press, and has caused controversy in the church and beyond. We acknowledge that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York since then have apologised for releasing this statement, but they have not retracted any of its content.  

The statement has caused a lot of anger and pain among many church members and other Christians. This particularly applies to those whose relationships, in which they express and experience intimacy, love and grace, the statement declares to be ‘falling short of God’s purposes for human beings’.

At All Hallows Church, we would like to affirm our understanding of being a Christian community:

We are trying to respond to the challenge of Jesus of Nazareth to love God, ourselves and others, exploring the meaning of God’s love for all people — women, men, black, white, gay, straight, older, younger, of faith or no faith — and looking to meet the needs of people who feel damaged or marginalised. With others in the area, we work for justice, reconciliation and to inspire hope. Desmond Tutu’s phrase ‘the rainbow people of God’ underlies our use of the rainbow symbol — coming from a variety of backgrounds, ages and lifestyles, we celebrate and affirm our God-given diversity.

To our regret, because of the Church of England’s official policy, at All Hallows we are not legally permitted to conduct civil partnerships or same-sex weddings.

However, before being Anglican, we are called to be Christian. And to be Christian means to believe in God who bestows divine blessing on people who live together in love and unity (Psalm 133). Hence, we do celebrate this blessing with members of our community, regardless of the legal form of their relationship. Our congregation includes people in a wide variety of relationships, and we are grateful for the diverse ways in which they witness to God’s love.

We pray for a time when the church will acknowledge and embrace the diversity of God’s creation and the radical and inclusive nature of God’s love. We hope that the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith project will produce resources that will help the church to engage with questions about human identity, relationships, marriage and sexuality in an open and affirming way. 

The process of change in the Church of England is slow. At All Hallows we advocate for and work for that change, and in the meantime we provide a welcoming space to all the rainbow people of God.

All Hallows’ re-affirms our commitment to the Inclusive Church vision.

Video

Celebrating the Diocese of Leeds

Some of the amazing things that are going on in our Diocese.

Spot Heston!

 

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at St Albans

On June 21, 3000 people travelled to St Albans to hear Bishop Katharine speak on heroes. She was a truly inspiring speaker, filling us with hope for the votes on women bishops. It was wonderful just to see the presiding Bishop of the United States of America in England and to hear the hope that she brought from her context.

A willingness to meet with those who disagree with her has transformed her relationship with traditionalists yet she has also brought hope to those communities who still feel on the margins of the church. She spoke warmly of her relationship with other bishops both in the United States and abroad. She has encouraged her brother and sister bishops to keep dialoguing with one another and to bring their differences to the table rather than discussing one another behind closed doors.

It was exciting to see a woman in the pulpit of St Alban’s Abbey. Her sermon on heroes gave much food for thought to the Catholic women’s ordination movement. She asked the congregation to consider who our heroes are and who are we heroes for? She made me think of those brave women who campaigned for the vote and those who work for inclusion in all churches where there is discrimination.

In the afternoon she led a question and answer session on Ministry for those of us who are WATCH members. She spoke of her calling as Bishop and its similarities with her work as an oceanographer because she had faced discrimination in both contexts. She spoke of her supports for the inclusion of lesbian and gay people within the church and how she listens to those who oppose her. She encouraged us to keep dreaming of a future in the Roman Catholic Church with women and men are treated equally and she also spoke of the importance of being yourself and listening carefully to those who disagree.

At the afternoon celebration we were blessed with a sermon from John Bell of the Iona community. His radical inclusion reminded us to think where integrity is and to be aware of those politicians who trample on those who are poor and abused. Bishop Katharine has been invited to the Women’s Ordination Worldwide conference. We pray she will be able to accept.

Katharine Salmon