The Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith teaching and learning resources are going to be published next Monday, 9th November. They will explore questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage. The resources have been commissioned by the House of Bishops, and will include a book, a series of films and podcasts, and a course which have been developed over the last three years by a group of more than 40 people from across the spectrum of opinion in the Church. As part of the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship Committee (DEF) I want to commend to you the following letter from Tom Parsons, Chair of Rochester DEF.
This is an invitation to join with other evangelicals from across our diocese to view a new resource produced by the Church of England Evangelical Council. ‘The Beautiful Story’ is a half hour video designed to help churches explore a biblical position on human sexuality in our current context. The meeting will take place over Zoom on Tuesday 10th November at 1:00 p.m.
The video has been professionally made and involves Bible teaching, commentary about the current situation in the Church of England and suggestions about how to move forward in the event that the fracture between those who believe and practice the church’s historic teaching and those who wish to see change is magnified. The video is presented by a range of nationally recognisable evangelical leaders from across the charismatic and conservative spectrum, and with bishops, clergy and lay people all contributing. The intention is that those who attend the meeting on 10th November will take it back to PCCs and other leaders and members in the local churches.
This topic has particular relevance in the light of the forthcoming publication of Living in Love and Faith, the episcopal teaching document on marriage and sexuality due for publication in the next few weeks. It has urgency too, in view of next year’s General Synod elections. The composition of the next General Synod is likely to strongly influence the church’s future direction. It is important that those who hold to biblical teaching in these areas unite to ensure that biblically orthodox candidates are elected.
I can understand anyone who instinctively wants to opt out of involvement with this issue, perhaps because it is so emotionally and politically charged. I encourage you to join the meeting anyway, and to withhold those kinds of conclusions until you have seen the video and listened to (and taken part in) the discussion. The experience of other Anglican provinces and denominations that have fully revised the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality demonstrates that what appears a political fight is really a pastoral and theological crisis that calls for decision. Every minister and congregation will have to take a side on these matters eventually. Hobbling between two opinions will prove no more sustainable now than in Elijah’s day!
So please join in the DEF zoom on 10th November. If you would like to come, please contact me or Tim Edwards - DEF Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link. We pray that through CEEC’s input and our discussions, we will grow in a shared vision’.
As ever, in this journey with you,