Living in Love and Faith
Eleven of our congregation met together recently to follow the five session video and discussion course entitled ‘Living in Love and Faith’.
The course, published by the Church of England. Is designed to examine Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. The hope and prayer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is that by engaging with the course together across the church, we will all learn to live more fully in the way of Christ – in love and faith.
So we do encourage those of you in the congregation who were not in the group, to access and follow the course online. You can find it on our "From the Diocese" page, or by clicking here.
What follows below are reflections by members of the LLF group about what they have experienced and learnt from following the course.
‘I feel that it is useful for the Church of England to get feedback from the grass roots as it looks at the different issues it is facing concerning identity, sexuality and gender. However, in the end it comes down to what God wants and for the church system of discernment to come to the right decisions.’
‘The course brought me very much a feeling of well – being as we discussed very intense moments with one another.’
‘Britain has moved far and fast to accept people who are different.’
‘I thought the audience was definitely being steered towards a fairly liberal view of sexuality and gender identity issues.’
‘From the course, I have learned the way of speaking and hearing God together. To me this is very important.’
‘The contributions from various clergy were excellent - clear compassionate and convincing.’
‘I listened to others and I tried to think about different perspectives for the future. I perceived that we should accept the need to change our views concerning identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage in order to be more like Jesus.’
‘I feel that it made us face our own prejudices and realise where we stand but also to consider deeply our response to people we may have at some point within our own congregation and to ensure that we act in loving acceptance at all times.’
‘Society, at least in Western Europe, is now in a completely different place from the Church on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. So should the Church change? There’s no easy answer!’
‘I think same – sex couples who love each other should be allowed into Christian marriage.’
‘The videos of committed Christian couples in relationships which don’t fit the traditional Church of England picture, were very moving.’
‘The case study videos were very powerful and extremely effective in putting forward an irrefutable case for tolerance, acceptance and celebration of the different types of human beings that our Lord has seen fit to create.’
‘I hear God saying to the Church, ‘We must grow up in every way into him who is the Head, Christ.’’ (Ephesians Ch4 v15)
Our course study was too late to send our reflections to the ‘Next Step Group’, a college of nine bishops. But over 6000 people did send in their reflections via a questionnaire ( probably a minority of those who followed the course ).
The College of Bishops spent three days at the end of October praying and discussing its response to LLF in the light of these reflections. It will meet again in December where further discernment and decision making will take place.
Jim Mallett November 2022