The four bishops of the Diocese of Oxford have issued an Ad Clerum to 1,500 ministers setting out the bishops’ expectations of inclusion and respect for all and announcing a new LGBTI+ chaplaincy team. The Press Release, reproduced below, includes a link to the bishops’ letter.
Expectations of inclusion and respect
31 Oct 2018 – four bishops from one of the largest dioceses in the Church of England have written to 1,500 ministers setting out the bishops’ expectations of inclusion and respect for all and announces a new LGBTI+ chaplaincy team.
Silence is both painful and damaging for LGBTI+ people in the midst of continuing debate within the Church about human sexuality, say the bishops. Their letter, sent to all clergy and LLMs in the Diocese of Oxford, sets expectations of inclusion and respect towards all and affirms LGBTI+ people called to roles of leadership and service in the church.
The Oxford letter commends five principles for welcoming and honouring LGBTI+ people and looks at work underway in the Church of England to develop new pastoral guidance and teaching resources relating to human sexuality and same sex marriage.
A new chaplaincy team for LGBTI+ people, their families and loved ones is promised too. The chaplaincy team will also provide LGBTI+ insights and advice to clergy and bishops about being church together.
The Oxford letter concludes with a commitment from the bishops to continue to listen well to LGBTI+ people from a variety of perspectives, ‘including those seeking change in the Church of England’s polity and those seeking to live faithfully within it’.
The full text of the letter can be found on the Diocese of Oxford website at blogs.oxford.anglican.org/clothe-yourselves-with-love.
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Notes to editors:
For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the four bishops, please contact Steven Buckley on 07824 906839
The Oxford letter was drafted with input from an advisory group of LGBTI+ Christians
31st October 2018
The Oxford initiative has been generally welcomed, and follows the lead of the Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield, who in May this year issued the Ad Clerum Welcoming and honouring LGBT+ people: this includes the 5 principles for listening to and supporting LGBTI+ people. Importantly, it stresses the canonical nature of principle #3:
“3. We want to make clear that nobody should be excluded or discouraged from receiving the Sacraments of Baptism or the Lord’s Supper on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Note that in all cases excommunication is reserved to the diocesan bishop (Canon B16)”.
With thanks to Christine Allsopp for highlighting the Lichfield initiative.