Listening and dialogue with lesbian and gay Anglicans – paper submitted to Anglican Consultative Council Delegates

The resolutions passed at the 1978, 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences and the paragraphs in the Windsor Report identify five distinct processes to which the Anglican Communion has committed itself:

1. Encourage dialogue with those who are homosexual and listen to the experience of homosexual persons (1978 Resolution 10; 1998 Resolution 1.10)
2. Find practical ways in which the listening process commended may be taken forward
3. Undertake deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality
4. Monitor work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and share statements and resources
5. Establish processes and structures to facilitate ongoing discussion

The commitment to dialogue and listening arises from a recognition of the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual (Resolution 10, 1978)

Process

* The process must win the confidence of lesbian and gay, bisexual, transgender and same-gender loving Anglicans.
* The voices of those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and same-gender loving people must be heard.
* Listening to the experience of lesbian and gay Christians and dialoguing with us should take place in every Province with local lesbian and gay Anglicans.
* The group monitoring the process should include lesbian and gay people.
* The mode of listening and dialogue should be appropriate to different cultural contexts using a consistent methodology.

Resources

* The process should draw on the resources of Provinces which have already engaged in listening, study, research and dialogue with lesbian and gay people.
* The resources of Christian and secular lesbian and gay networks in each Province should be used to identify lesbian and gay people willing to participate in the process.

Safety

* The process must ensure that lesbian and gay participants can be heard without fear.
* It must be made safe for lesbian and gay people in countries where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment or where taboos are strong.
* Voices may need to be heard via third parties or across national and provincial boundaries.
* Anonymity from Church or civil authorities must be guaranteed where requested.

The next step

* The results of the listening process should be presented to the Lambeth Conference in 2008.
* Lesbian and gay people should participate in the preparations for the Lambeth Conference in relation to the presentation and discussion of the listening process.
* A human sexuality network should be set up, alongside other networks hosted by the ACC, to continue the process of listening and dialogue, exchange news and information and facilitate discussion.

Monitoring and Evaluation

* The process should be monitored as it proceeds and an independent evaluation should be undertaken at the conclusion of the listening process to ensure that the best use is made of the information gathered and demonstrate transparency and accountability.

Lesbian and gay Anglicans would have confidence in a process that:

* Actively engages us in its design, presentation and evaluation
* Creates a safe and confidential space so that our voices can be heard in every part of the Communion
* Makes us visible partners in dialogue at Lambeth 2008

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