The Church of Ireland Select Committee on Human Sexuality has published the result of its three year ‘listening process’. Entitled the “Guide to the Conversation on Human Sexuality in the context of Christian Belief” it details the long and often fraught journey that this issue has taken from the House of Bishops’ first pastoral letter on the issue of Human Sexuality, in September 2003, to the commencement of the ‘listening process’ and the Select Committee’s engagement with representatives of the two contrasting sides in this argument, including individual members of the LGBT community who made contributions in their own right to the Committee, right up to the present day and the publication of this guide.
Changing Attitude Ireland were represented at the launch of this publication, in Church House in Dublin on January 18 by the Chairman, Scott Golden accompanied by Canon Ginnie Kennerley, David McConnell and Leo Kilroy who is also a member of the Advisory Panel to the Select Committee .
CAI commended the Select Committee for the work and effort that went into producing such a balanced publication and acknowledged the Select Committee’s reasons for not attempting to come to any conclusion other than that “the conversation should continue”. It is essential, if this Guide is to be effective, that the Church facilitate further small group conversation on these issues throughout the Church, at parish level then diocesan level and finally at General Synod. These sessions should use experienced facilitators as suggested by Bishop Trevor Williams in his submission “Understanding the Other”.
As to any regrets, we would have wished that the personal testimonies shared with committee members by LGBT individuals and those close to them at considerable emotional cost could have been quoted more fully. We also question the necessity of hypothesizing about what those who did not testify might have said if they had felt comfortable enough to come forward.
On the wider scene, we are encouraged by the Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Clarke, saying yesterday (Sunday 17 January 2016) that he believed in equality absolutely and completely, that he was open to changing his mind on the issue of same-sex marriage and hoped we might find some form of pastoral accommodation that would be true to the Scriptures and to our understanding that every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and is equally loved by God and must be equally loved by us.
Download the accompanying Executive Summary
Scott Golden, Chairman.