The Clergy Consultation was founded in 1976 to support clergy at a time of great change in the Church of England. Its meetings were much appreciated by many over the years, some of whom joined whilst ordinands, and continued through their ministry.
As clergy began to feel more confident in their sexuality and gender identity, and were able to find support in their parishes, fewer and fewer members were attending meetings and it was decided to close down the Consultation.
However, with the issue of the recent “Bishops’ Pastoral Letter”, some have suggested that, once again, The Clergy Consultation could have be useful in providing support and advice to clergy and licensed lay ministers (including Readers and other lay ministers) and their partners. It could also have a role in the “facilitated conversations” taking place around the dioceses.
A former convenor has organised a meeting of The Clergy Consultation, which will be open to all former members, as well as any who would meet the membership criteria: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Clergy, Religious, Ordinands, Licensed Lay Ministers, and their partners.
The meeting will take place under the same level of confidentiality which existed in the past, namely:
• Members attending do not share names and details of those attending with others outside the meeting
• The host venue and names of speakers are included in the confidentiality of the meeting under the “Chatham House Rule” i.e. participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
The meeting will (briefly) consider whether to re-constitute The Clergy Consultation, and there will be speakers in the morning and the afternoon addressing matters which LGBTI Anglicans are currently facing. It is being held at a venue in London in late June. If you would like an invitiation to attend, please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org letting the convenors know that you fulfil the membership criteria.
I know there will be many clergy and readers who will be unaware of the Consultation’s history and it’s relaunch to respond to the issues LGBTI ministers now face.