Changing Attitude asks for Sodor and Man working party report to be published

I’ve emailed the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man and Mr William Fittall, Secretary General of the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, asking that the report of the working party on civil partnerships be placed in the public domain. Transparency in the processes by which the Church of England reviews and revises its teaching and theology about LGB&T people is critical given the way in which the media scrutinise both decisions taken and the way in which they are announced.

Dear Robert and William,

I am writing to ask that the report by the House of Bishops working party on civil partnerships be placed in the public domain.

Paragraph 7 of the summary of decisions taken by the House of Bishops published on 20 December 2012 says that the House considered an interim report from the working party on sexuality chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling. The summary does not refer to the Sodor and Man working party but the final sentence presumably refers to the conclusions the group presented to the House.

The House of Bishops (presumably) “confirmed that the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate.”

Comments on Thinking Anglicans noted at the time what seemed to some to be a significant change of policy. People were also confused about the implications of the statement and its origins.

The lack of transparency and clarity is resulting in a narrative in the media about the Church of England, which is doing significant damage to the reputation of the Church and the mission of the Church to proclaim the truth of God’s love in creation.

Changing Attitude was one of the groups invited to make a submission to the working party and to meet the group for an hour. We would like to know how the group assessed the submissions from and conversations with various organizations.

We hope the working party did indeed present a report of their work to the House of Bishops and as one of the organizations with a significant interest in the process by which the Church of England is revising teaching about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, we urge you to publish the report.

Yours truly,

Revd Colin Coward
Director of Changing Attitude England

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