Living in Love and Faith: Church of England General Synod members consider gender and sexuality

Jul 7, 2019 by

by Prudence Dailey, Christian Today:

Saturday saw members of the General Synod Church of England engage in the latest round of the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ (LLF) project, exploring issues around identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

The five optional sessions, each running three times over the afternoon and with participants choosing which to attend, consisted partly of presentations and partly of opportunities for Synod members to continue to feed in their views.

Three of these sessions were seminars, led by members of the interdisciplinary LLF working groups covering biblical studies, theology, history and social and biological sciences. The seminar entitled ‘Where are we?’ explored social cultural shifts, as well as some input from a scientific perspective; ‘Who are we?’ covered what it means to be created, fallen and redeemed; and ‘How do we hear God?’ looked at how we understand scripture.

Members of the working groups were drawn from a range of theological perspectives, and on a number of occasions they stressed that they did not all agree on the matters under discussion.

The opportunities for participation in the seminars were at times extremely rushed, with Synod members having a very short amount of time to scribble down thoughts on pieces of paper which were then gathered up, and which we were assured would form part of the input into the LLF process. (Throughout the project, however, members of Synod have been reminded of the opportunity to write in with more considered observations.)

As might be expected, given the composition of both the working groups and the Synod itself, the sessions had both helpful and less helpful elements. The setting of the discussion around sexuality in the context of the Christian understanding of creation and fall was welcome, as was the recognition that different perspectives can emerge from radically different (and incompatible) ways of understanding the nature of scripture.

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