Anglican church leaders are being encouraged to move “from a less adversarial to a more conversational listening approach that involves genuine encounter” when discussing issues around gender, sexuality, and marriage.
That’s according to a new Living in Love and Faith (LLF) guide included in papers sent out to all General Synod members ahead of their meeting on 16th and 17th November.
It will be the first time the Church of England’s legislative body meets at Church House Westminster since the pandemic.
In November last year, the Church of England published Living in Love and Faith, a set of resources to help churches explore questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage as the church embarked on a journey to decide its position on these issues.
The LLF guide has been written by the Next Steps Group comprised of nine bishops and chaired by the Bishop of London, Rt Rev Sarah Mullally. The group has met 14 times since June 2020.
It has also produced “the overarching strategy for engagement and listening across dioceses, and a timeframe for the discernment and decision-making phases of the process.”
According to the guide, over 11,000 people have registered on the LLF Learning Hub, accessing videos, podcasts as well as a five-part course.
Under a section called ‘What steps can the LLF Next Steps Group and all of us in the wider church take to help make your most hopeful aspirations a reality?’ the guide urges members to “listen to the lament and fear and pain of people, especially, LGBTQI+ people,” and to “Continue to listen actively and to exercise deep respect for those with whom we disagree, with a humility and willingness to learn” among other recommendations.
Earlier this month the Church of England held elections for its General Synod attracting a record number of candidates. A least 60 per cent of those elected are new members.
You can access the full LLF guide here.