Changing Attitude begins to draft submission to House of Bishops review group

I’ve begun to draft Changing Attitude’s submission to the House of Bishops Group reviewing human sexuality this morning, the group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling. 

Researching previous documents, I read more carefully than usual the page on the Church of England web site about homosexuality.

The article says “[t]hree reports on homosexuality were produced by the Church of England working parties between 1970 and 1989, each of them contributions to the debate. These were the unpublished report of a Board for Social Responsibility working party produced in 1970, the 1979 BSR report Homosexual Relations: A contribution to discussion and the unpublished 1989 ‘Osborne’ report, which was commissioned by the BSR for the House of Bishops.

So, two of the three reports commissioned prior to the notorious ‘Higton’ debate in 1987 and the publication of Issues in Human Sexuality in 1991 were not published. How is it possible for the person who wrote the page for the C of E web site to claim that each of the three reports were “contributions to the debate”? Two of them did not contribute to the debate because the public were unable to read them.

Maybe I’m getting hooked on trivialities, but it’s this continuing misrepresentation of truth by staff at Church House and the failure of the House of Bishops that makes me wonder whether even now they have the guts to deal with the real presence of LGB&T Anglicans – the over 1,500 clergy, 13 bishops, and tens of thousands of Readers and lay people, ministering in the congregations week by week.

The group has appointed three advisers: the Revd Dr Jessica Martin, Priest-in-charge of Duxford, of Hinxton and of Ickleton, Dr Robert Song, Head of Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religion, and the Ven Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney. Jessica Martin reflected on and wrote about the House of Bishops statement Some Issues in Human Sexuality in her former role as a Cambridge academic. Robert Song is a Senior Lecturer in Christian Ethics and President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics. Rachel Treweek has been an Archdeacon, first in Northolt and now in Hackney, since 2006.

The task of Sir Joseph’s group is to help the House discharge its commitment to produce a consultation document. Another consultation document?!

Do these three advisers have the courage and wisdom to help the review group produce a document that will be made available for public discussion and break through the  paralysing caution which has characterised developments for over 30 years?

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