As you will be aware, General Synod debated Living in Love and Faith in January and, as a result, is working towards providing final versions of Prayers of Love and Faith which clergy may use at significant moments with couples in church. You can find the most recent communication about this on the diocesan website.
In Stepney Area, there are two forthcoming opportunities for clergy and LLMs to meet and to speak and listen to each other. The dates and locations for these two meetings have been circulated:
- 7th March 7pm to 8.30pm at St Michael and All Angels
- 9th of March 7pm to 8.30pm at St Mary Magdalene Church
Many people, lay and ordained, continue to write to Bishop Sarah and Bishop Joanne to offer their views. We are always grateful to receive these letters, to hear people’s support and concerns, and to be assured of your prayers for all involved in this discernment. There have also been some diocesan meetings for people with a variety of perspectives and we have been listening carefully at these too. As well as views on whether this step should have been taken, we hear your views on what this means for unity in the church, what practical arrangements you would like to see in place to feel confident that you can act in good conscience, and how you will manage discussions in your own churches about the pastoral and practical implications of what has been decided.
Both of us recognize the strong, deep, and sincere views that are held on these matters by you. We are committed to the flourishing of all our parishes and to individuals within them. We seek to be as united as we can, whilst recognizing the differences that exist. We see that this debate is costly for all of us, and for some in ways that feel particularly personal. Together, we often grapple with theological perspectives when we pray and study the Bible at Morning Prayer, which we say together and with others most weekday mornings. We agree on some things and disagree on others, but we keep seeking to hear God speaking to us through prayer and the Scriptures, opening new perspectives, and keeping us humble and patient as the Church goes through this time of discernment.
We continue to pray for the whole Church and the people of God, especially here in Islington, Hackney, and Tower Hamlets, and ask you to pray for us too.
Bishop Joanne and Archdeacon Peter