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April 2012 NewsletterSubmitted by bob.callaghan on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 15:04
It was my great privilege to help prepare two candidates for confirmation this Eastertide. One young man who had been on a long spiritual journey before becoming an Anglican told me of the uncomfortable moments he experienced ‘coming out’ to his friends and family as a ‘Christian’ – something that was much more of a challenge to him than his coming out as gay during his teens!
While his experience may not be everybody’s, it did show me something about our society and how out of touch those of us whose lives revolve around the church can become.We must remember that the reason why voices opposing gay marriage in church and those reluctant to accept women bishops get so much press is that they are promoting a morality that is strange and no longer widely acceptable.
It has never been more important to make the inclusive voice heard. When Christian homophobic or gynophobic letters appear in newspapers (local, national or ecclesiastical) it is vital that we do not let them go unchallenged.If we don’t, we are creating a church and society where Christianity comes with so many negative connotations of prejudice and irrationality, that our relationship with Jesus is the only love that dare not speak its name.
The Church of the Ascension, Blackheath
From the National Coordinator
There are times around the life of Inclusive Church when it’s hard to keep up! In 2012 we have significant progress on the Anglican Covenant, legislation on Women Bishops at General Synod in July and a number of consultations on LGB&T issues. Plans are well under way for Inclusive Church to be at Greenbelt and Pride and other events around the country. We are working to strengthen our work on mental health issues and disability as part of a strategy whereby we focus on a number of key areas. We continue to maintain links with churches, individuals and partner organisations.
In 2013 Inclusive Church will be marking 10 years in existence. One of the things we did at the November Inclusive Church conference was asking people how they thought we should mark this. Many wanted a party – with a cake! Plans are beginning to shape up and there will be more details available soon. For now …keep the weekend of 13-15th September 2013 clear. There will be a national celebration event showcasing the work that Inclusive Church is involved in, as well as events talking place around the country – involving each of our registered churches. So…watch this space.
Bob Callaghan. National Coordinator
Inclusive Church leads in letter to The Times on Gay Marriage.
Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church, was the lead signatory of a letter in The Times on 21st April. In the letter the signatories, which include members of the General Synod, a number of Bishops and Cathedral Deans, said: "Recent statements by church leaders past and present may have given the impression that the Church is universally opposed to the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples. We believe that does not adequately reflect the range of opinion which exists within the Church of England"....................
Click Here: to read the full text of the letter written to the Times.
This Easter we have written again to all those who give to Inclusive Church. We did the same at Christmas and received an increase in giving from a number of individuals and churches. So thank you! For those of you who read this newsletter – but don’t give regularly to Inclusive Church – can we encourage you to consider this? Over 4,500 people get the newsletter – if each of them were able to give even a small amount each year, the work of Inclusive church could be transformed!
Inclusive Church is looking ahead at 2012 and 2013 with confidence and a sense of clear direction. (Details of some of this work are detailed within this newsletter.) This sense of confidence and purpose is due in no small way to the fact that we can rely on the generous giving of our supporters.
Examples of costs in 2012:
- Church visit - may cost up to £150.
- Disability Conference: £500
- Web site £1250 one year’s web site.
- Greenbelt.- one day’s presence £500
- Supporting Young IC with their monthly meeting £150
- General Synod Fringe Events £500
- For much of our work, the main financial cost is the post of the ½ time National Coordinator, the only paid member of staff for Inclusive Church.
As you celebrate Easter we would hope that you would continue to support Inclusive Church. May we encourage you to perhaps use this time as an opportunity to review – possibly even increase – the amount you give to Inclusive Church.
David Hancock - Treasurer
Inclusive Church in partnership with St Martin in the Fields will be holding a conference on disability on Saturday 20th October 2012 at St Martins. We are working with a number of individuals to draw the details of the conference together. Key for the event is to give those who live with disability a voice, whereby they can tell their story of what it’s like to be disabled and be part of the church. The day will include time to meet, share together and worship.
The conference will be open to all – with no charge for attending. St Martin’s is a great venue – with an excellent café. Booking for the conference will open soon – see the next newsletter for details. Contact Bob Callaghan for more details.
The theme this year for Greenbelt is ‘Saving Paradise’. Inclusive Church will be sharing space at Greenbelt with Modern Church, Progressive Christianity Network and the Centre for Radical Christianity. Greenbelt is 24-27 August. Being at Greenbelt is an excellent opportunity for Inclusive Church to make contact and talk with hundreds of people. If you are going to be at Greenbelt – make sure you find us in the G source.
Plans are well under way for Inclusive Church to be at Pride in London on 7th July. Once again we shall be joining with ‘Christians at Pride’ to demonstrate a strong Christian presence. What would be fantastic is if we could get a large number of our registered Inclusive Churches to join with us at Pride. Clergy - come in dog-collars, this gives a really positive image and you'd be amazed at the conversations that result! This would be a really great way to demonstrate support for LGB&T people. So …come on get your church organised for a day out in London. The post-Pride service this year will be 6 p.m.at Bloomsbury Baptist Church as we have to move to a larger venue! More details in the next newsletter.
Help with Pride
As well as turning up on the day – there are other ways to help with Pride:
- Singers and Musicians needed for the post-pride service
- A rehearsal has been fixed at Holy Trinity Church, Buck Street, Camden, 2pm Sunday 27 May. Just turn up!
We are really pleased that one of our registered Inclusive Churches (St Andrew's Earlsfield) has agreed to sponsor the Christians at Pride T shirts this year. There are other ways to support Christians at Pride if you want to sponsor something!
- Pay for some banners for us to use in the Parade?
- Pay some freebies for us to distribute to the crowd?
- Pay for the printing of the card that is distributed with contact details?
- Provide transport for the group in use in the parade? Flat bed truck? Open-top coach or car. Tractor (only joking – probably!)
- For more information about Inclsuive Church at Pride contact Bob Callaghan
London Pride is World Pride
This year Pride in London has been designated as the World Pride venue. To mark this, in the week running up to Pride there are a number of events that Inclusive Church would want to support and let you know about:
- Friday 29th June. LGCM Cheese and Wine evening with entertainment by Vinyl Closet. 19.30-21.20 Bloomsbury Baptist Church.
- Saturday 30th June. LGCM Annual Conference and AGM. Keynote speaker: Siomon Barrow. 9.30 – 17.30 Bloomsbury Baptist Church
- Tuesday 3rd July Do we need a Gay Church in the 21st Century? 19.30-21.30 MCC north London, Buck Street, Camden.
- Thursday 5th July. Mind the Gap! Faith and Global LGBT rights. 12.00-17.00 Friends Meeting House, St Martin’s Lane, London.
- Friday 6th July. Brenda Harrison Memorial Lecture. Speaker: Sharon Ferguson. 18.00 Refreshments 19.00 Lecture. St Martin in the Fields.
Pride where YOU are.
There is a lot going on in London – but what about where you live? Is there a Pride event near you? Why not get Christians together to have a positive presence. Contact Bob Callaghan for help and advice about how to organise this.
Conferences and Events
27th Eric Symes Abbott memorial lecture: Mis-establishment
Westminster Abbey 10 May 2012 at 6:15 pm
Mis-establishment Locating, and Re-locating, the Church of England
The well-rehearsed arguments about the establishment of the Church of England require revisiting at a time when the nature of sovereignty and location of power have substantially shifted. Unless the issues arising from those shifts are examined the established church may find itself, while imagining it occupies a place close to the levers of power, is actually remote from them, while at the same time alienated from those who lack power. This lecture will discuss these issues, taking seriously, as key examples, the remoteness of the Church of England from places of financial power and the growing numbers who as migrants lack any part in the institutions of democratic authority.
Speaker: The Right Reverend Dr Peter Selby. Click for more information
I am what I am
22nd- 24th June 2012
“I am what I am” Learning to be ourselves before God
Do you feel unable to be who you really are in church?
Do you want to explore who you really are in a safe space?
Do you want to explore questions of sexuality and spirituality in a Christian context?
Come and explore on a weekend for those who are longing to integrate their gender, sexuality and spirituality.
Facilitated by Revd Dr Christina Beardsley, Jeremy Timm and Revd Lesley Ashton
Venue: St Oswald’s Pastoral Centre, Woodlands Drive, Sleights, North Yorkshire, YO21 1RY
Tel: 01947 810496
Modern Church Conference
"By Whose Authority?" An interfaith look at women and religious authority. Taking place from 16th July to 19th July, this conference, chaired by Revd Dr Harriet Harris, is uniquely place to respond at the moment that the Church of England approves legislation (or otherwise) for making women bishops.
Keynote address “Making Space for an honest conversation” by the Bishop of Salisbury to the Cutting Edge Consortium Conference 21st April 2012.
"In British society, the game is up. Gay people are equal members of our society", said the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Revd Nicholas Holtam, to the Cutting Edge Consortium Conference 21st April 2012.
"So, increasingly, there is an evangelical imperative for the Church to recognise that covenantal same sex relationships can be Godly and good for individuals and society; that they are at least like marriage for heterosexuals, and this is a development that many Christians in good faith warmly welcome. For LGBT people it raises a question about whether marriage is what they want, but for us as a Church there are things to affirm in this development. It is a disaster that we have allowed the Church to be seen as the opposition to equal civil marriage".
Click here for the text of Bishop Holtam's address
Consultations: Same-sex Marriage and Human Sexuality
Inclusive Church has been engaging with the variety of consultation exercises being carried out by both Church and State!
House of Bishops
The House of Bishops have 2 review groups exploring issues related to civil partnerships and human sexuality.
The review group on Civil Partnerships met with representatives from the LGB&T Anglican Coalition (of which inclusive Church is a member). This group will make an initial report to the house of Bishops in May.
The review group on Human Sexuality is working to a longer time-frame. (Reporting in 2013) Details can be found here. The group welcomes submissions from individuals or groups. The deadline for submissions is 31st May 2012. Submissions can be sent to:
The Rev’d Dr Malcolm Brown – for the attention of Sir Joseph Pilling
Great Smith Street
Submissions can also be emailed.
Inclusive Church will be meeting with the review group in early July.
The government have initiated a 12 week consultation on same sex marriage in England and Wales. Individuals and groups (especially LGB&T and religious groups) are invited to respond. For more information go to the Home Office site. Inclusive Church will be responding formally to this consultation and encourages its supporters to respond with their own submissions. The consultation ends 14th June 2012.
News From WATCH - women bishops
The House of Bishops meets on 21st/22nd May to consider whether to amend the Measure allowing women to be appointed as bishops. In February, General Synod passed a motion requesting them not to amend it...substantially. In practice this means, legally, not to amend it in a way that would require a return to the Diocesan Synods for re-ratification. The Bishops are considering whether to amend in order to satisfy as many people as possible, and also because they believe that there is a risk that the Measure will not gain sufficient votes in the House of Laity in July unless it is amended.
The two areas that the Bishops will be looking at are- explaining the derivation/delegation distinction
- expanding the term 'a male bishop' to define more narrowly which male bishops are acceptable to those opposed to women bishops.
The WATCH position on all this is clear - no amendment - but we do want to hear from those IC friends who are familiar with the details what your current thinking is on the possibility of the Bishops amending the Measure at their May meeting. Please send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hilary Cotton Head of Campaign, WATCH www.womenandthechurch.org
You are invited to ‘THE MANTLE OF PRAISE’ a eucharist at pentecost to celebrate 25 years of women’s ordained ministry in the Church of England and to pray for the final vote on women bishops in July.
Saturday 26 May 2012
2.00pm followed by tea
Please join us to give thanks for all that has been, to celebrate what is, and to pray for what is to come. To ensure everyone gets a seat, admission is by ticket only (no charge) For more information and tickets please contact Rev Ruth Fitter or telephone 01242 222 345
'Gay cure' advertising proves misleading
an article by Savi Hensman
‘Ex-gay’ movement advertisements which were to have appeared on the sides of London buses have been blocked by the Mayor of London, to the relief of many. Mayor Boris Johnson is chair of Transport for London. However Mike Davidson of the Core Issues Trust, which placed the ads with backing from Anglican Mainstream, accused him of “censorship”.
Tension can sometimes arise between freedom of expression and protection of sections of society from discrimination and the wider public from offence. Getting the right balance in such instances can be difficult.
What is surprising in this case, however, is that the Advertising Standards Authority had apparently cleared the ads in the first place. These read “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!” This implies that, if one is attracted mainly to the same sex, changing one’s sexual orientation is possible and desirable.
This is borne out by Core Issues Trust’s commitment to “support men and women with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression”. The Anglican Mainstream website, announcing the advertising campaign, claims that “sexuality is far more fluid than has hitherto been thought”.
So the claim touches on science, as well as religion and ethics. And on this basis, since matters of fact as well as opinion are involved, this campaign would have fallen foul of the rule that ads must not mislead.
Over the past century, numerous methods have been used to try to change people’s sexual orientation. Prayer, willpower, hormonal treatment, psychotherapy, aversion therapy, reparative therapy and other approaches have however proved generally ineffective, and often resulted in harm.
There may be minor changes in some people’s sexuality, and a handful may experience a more noteworthy shift. But for the vast majority, sexual orientation has proved to be more or less constant, though how this is expressed may be culturally influenced.
Many Christians and other people of faith now believe that loving, committed same-sex partnerships can be spiritually as well as emotionally positive. Even those who cling to the belief that homosexual feelings should not be physically expressed often suggest that lesbian and gay people should try to stay celibate, though this can also be problematic.
A few however still insist that gay and lesbian people can and should be ‘cured’. This ignores huge amounts of evidence. Even a study cited by the groups behind the ads does not bear out the exaggerated claims made. It is not surprising that so many leaders of the ‘ex-gay’ movement have abandoned it and apologised for the damage they have done.
If an ad were to urge short-sighted people, or religious grounds, to stop wearing spectacles, treating the resulting inconvenience and risk as a sign of devotion to God, this might indicate a flawed theology. However if it implied that the faithful should throw away their glasses and could rely on prayer and psychotherapy to give them good eyesight, it would clearly breach the rules. This is not to say that sexual orientation is equivalent to myopia – far from it. But in both cases, pseudo-scientific claims would violate advertising guidelines, whether or not an ad was too offensive to appear on London buses.
Savi Hensman - Trustee of Inclusive Church