Open letter from 72 members of General Synod to the College and House of Bishops

Aug 11, 2016 by

CEN August 11

To the College and House of Bishops.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Now that the process of Shared Conversations launched subsequent to the Pilling Report has been completed and the ‘baton’ passed to the College and House of Bishops, we are writing to assure you of our prayers as you meet this autumn to discern the way forward. As members of General Synod we wish to offer the following reflections which we hope and pray might enable your deliberation and discernment.

We are grateful for the opportunity that was recently given to the General Synod to engage in a consideration of Scripture. However, we believe this was of an initial nature only and that much more biblical study is needed before we will be able as a Synod to make theologically informed decisions about human anthropology and sexuality. In particular we believe it is essential to clarify what it means to ‘honour God with our bodies’ (1 Corinthians 6v20) in order that we do not find ourselves praying for God’s blessing on that which is contrary to His will.

We are committed to building a church that is genuinely welcoming to all people, irrespective of the pattern of sexual attraction which they experience. We would welcome initiatives to help local churches do so in a way that is affirming of and consistent with Scripture and would hope to support suggestions you might wish to bring to Synod to that effect.

As you prepare to meet in the College and House of Bishops, we urge you not to consider any proposals that fly in the face of the historic understanding of the church as expressed in ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ (1991) and Lambeth Resolution 1 .10. To do so – however loud the apparent voice for change – could leave the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance, undermine our ability as members of General Synod to offer support and lead to an unwanted fracture within both the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.

We note the injunction of James that wisdom is to be found in seeking God (James 1v5). We thank God for you and commit ourselves to asking God to grant you His wisdom as you endeavour to offer episcopal leadership to the Church of England at this time.

Signed by the following General Synod members (Diocese):

The Rev Canon Jonathan Alderton-Ford (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)

The Rev Sam Allberry (Oxford)

The Rev Dr Andrew Atherstone (Oxford)

The Rev Andrew Attwood (Coventry)

Mrs Emily Bagg (Portsmouth)

The Rev Canon David Banting (Chelmsford)

Dr William Belcher (Gloucester)

Mrs Rachel Bell (Derby)

Dr Andrew Bell (Oxford)

Mrs Liz Bird (Hereford)

Mr Peter Boyd-Lee (Salisbury)

The Revd Peter Breckwoldt (Salisbury)

Mr James Cary (Bath & Wells)

Mr Graham Caskie (Oxford)

The Rev Preb Simon Cawdell (Hereford)

The Rev John Chitham (Chichester)

The Rev Canon Jonathan Clark (Leeds)

The Rev Canon Charlie Cleverley (Oxford)

Dr Simon Clift (Winchester)

Mrs Ann Colton (Chelmsford)

The Rev Canon Andrew Cornes (Chichester)

Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford)

The Rev Barney de Berry (Canterbury)

Mrs Gill de Berry (Salisbury)

Brigadier Ian Dobbie (Rochester)

The Rev Dr Sean Doherty (London)

The Rev James Dudley-Smith (Bath & Wells)

The Rev John Dunnett (Chelmsford)

Mrs Mary Durlacher (Chelmsford)

Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln)

Miss Emma Forward (Exeter)

Mrs Chris Fry (Winchester)

The Rev Canon Sally Gaze (Norwich)

Mr Chris Gill (Lichfield)

The Rev Graham Hamilton (Exeter)

Mr Jeremy Harris (Chester)

The Ven Simon Heathfield (Birmingham)

Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark)

The Rev Canon Gary Jenkins (Southwark)

Mrs Carolyn Johnson (Blackburn)

The Rev Peter Kay (St Albans)

Mrs Helen Lamb (Ely)

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)

Capt Nicholas Lebey (Southwark)

Mr James Lee (Guildford)

The Rev Mark Lucas (Peterborough)

Mrs Rosemary Lyon (Blackburn)

The Rev Angus MacLeay (Rochester)

Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry)

The Rev Alistair McHaffie (Blackburn)

The Rev Shaun Morris (Lichfield)

The Rev Dr Rob Munro (Chester)

Miss Margaret Parrett (Manchester)

Miss Jane Patterson (Sheffield)

The Rev Dr Ian Paul (Southwell & Nottingham)

Mrs Kathy Playle (Chelmsford)

The Rev Dr Philip Plyming (Guildford)

Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough)

The Rev Dr Patrick Richmond (Norwich)

The Rev Dr Jason Roach (London)

The Rev Dr Ben Sargent (Winchester)

Mr Clive Scowen (London)

Mr Ed Shaw (Bristol)

The Rev Charlie Skrine (London)

Mr Colin Slater (Southwell & Nottingham)

Dr Chik Tan (Lichfield)

The Rev Martyn Taylor (Lincoln)

The Rev Chris Tebbutt (Salisbury)

Mr Jacob Vince (Chichester)

Dr Yvonne Warren (Coventry)

The Rev Canon Giles Williams (Europe)

Mr Brian Wilson (Southwark)


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