Living in Love and Faith – Report to Deanery Synod 🗓
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.." John 4.18
Living in Love and Faith sets our to inspire people to think more deeply about what it means to be human and live in love and faith with one another. It tackles the tough questions and the divisions among Christians about what it means to be holy in a society in which understandings and practices of gender, sexuality and marriage continue to change.
Find out more about Living in Love and Faith by watching the video and listening to the podcast. Take part in the Church of England’s process of learning and discernment on issues of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
The LLF Course is over five weeks and offers the chance to study together and listen to people of different views, experiences and perspectives. Each week there will be prayer, bible study and reflections from a variety of perspectives giving everyone the chance to be heard.
Course was run in the Southwark & Newington Diocese by Jonathan Sedwick, Siriol Davis and Akin Akinwunmi.
Report to Deanery Synod
Report to Deanery Synod
The Southwark and Newington Deanery Synod held an LLF group open to all. Those who attended represented much of the diversity of our deanery in terms of age, the youngest was 27 and the oldest 88, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. We had rich and honest conversations which it would be impossible to capture in a short report but these four things stood out for us:
- This was a group very much at home with diversity and committed as a matter of principle to inclusion. It did not seem to us possible to distinguish between those aspects of the diversity of our humanity which should be welcomed and celebrated and included and those which should not. We therefore very much look forward to the day when this spirit of acceptance and inclusion is warmly embraced by the whole church.
- We noted that our stories and experiences were varied and diverse, there was joy and pain but above all a sense that we were all loved by God and that this transcended everything else about us.
- A particular discussion which seemed to capture a good deal of what we thought came after we had talked about whether sexuality was ‘chosen’, and about the Church of England’s recognition that conversion therapy was harmful and abusive. One participant said: ‘You mean, they don’t choose it, they can’t do anything about it, so why won’t you bless them?’
- In our final session we spent a lot of time reflecting on John 17 where Jesus prays for the unity of his disciples. This gave us a lot of encouragement and insight. We noted that Jesus was praying for us in that prayer! And we sensed that perhaps if we are willing to recognise Christ in each other, to be more humble, not to try so hard to get our own point of view across but to trust the work of the Holy Spirit there might be a way for us to live well together in our differences and for the polarisation of those differences to start to change.
Having reflected on this it seemed to us that our deanery might again want to put a motion to a diocesan synod about our group.
‘Having heard this report from the deanery LLF group, Southwark and Newington Deanery Synod commends the process of prayerful listening, study and respect which is at the heart of the LLF process. As a deanery of rich diversity we pray for the day when the whole church will be able to welcome and celebrate the full inclusion in the church’s life of all people irrespective of age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
We believe that provision should now urgently be made to enable those churches and communities who wish to bless same-sex relationships and affirm the identity of transgender people to do so.
We believe that the Church of England should begin the process of working towards the revision of its doctrine and liturgy on marriage in the light of this.’
Download the Living in Love and Faith Book with foreword from the Archbishops Canterbury and York.
Download the Living in Love and Course Book to recap on discussions from the course
Now you have completed the course, there are films, documents and podcasts that may be of interest to you by registering with the Church of England LLF website on https://llf.churchofengland.org/