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CoE Bishops to take part in “reflection” on sex

CoE Bishops to take part in “reflection” on sex

A “Bishops’ reflection group on sexuality” will be assisting in the episcopal discernment process as the Church of England debates same-sex relations.


A group of ten bishops will create material to be used by the House of Bishops in November. The task force is charged with coming up with questions on sexuality and to attempt to formulate possible answers, in addition to “consider any matter which the Archbishops request that the group should have on its agenda”.


The members of the reflection group are:

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James (Chair)

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent (Vice-Chair)

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson

The Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Libby Lane 

The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally 

The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley 

The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas 

The Bishop of Dorking the Rt Revd Jo Wells


Church officials supporting the reflection group include William Nye, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod; Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff; and the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, the director of mission and public affairs at Church House.



The full statement reads:

“As is the usual pattern of meetings of the College every third year the College of Bishops are joined for part of their meeting by bishops from the Scottish Episcopal Church, Church of Ireland and Church in Wales. Representatives from each of the sister churches made presentations to the college and engaged fully in discussions during the first days of the meeting.

A wide-ranging agenda included presentations and discussions on safeguarding, the Renewal and Reform programme, the post-Brexit political landscape, clergywomen in leadership, clergy well-being and issues of sexuality.

“Discussions on issues of sexuality took place as part of a new process of episcopal discernment which will continue during the meetings of the House of Bishops in November and December of this year and in January next year at the next meeting of the College of Bishops. These discussions were undertaken by the College of Bishops alone.

Whilst the process of episcopal discernment is in the public domain the Bishops agreed that the contents of their discussion should not be shared in public during the process so as to enable those discussions to be conducted freely and in a spirit of full collegiality. Consequently the contents of the conversations will remain private and participants have agreed not to comment on the contents of the discussions beyond their own views.

Following the conclusion of the Shared Conversations process the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have invited some bishops to take forward work on sexuality to assist the episcopal discernment process. The Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality will be chaired by Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich. The full membership of the group and its terms of reference will be published in due course.”


The terms of reference:

  • To assist the Bishops of the Church of England in their reflection on issues relating to human sexuality, in the light of theological, biblical, ecumenical, Anglican Communion, pastoral, missiological, historical and societal considerations bearing on these issues, and following experiences of the shared conversations held around the Church between 2014 and 2016.
  • To assist the House of Bishops in identifying questions in relation to human sexuality, with particular reference to same sex relationships. It will also develop possible answers to those questions for the House to consider, as a contribution to the leadership which the House provides to the Church on such issues.
  • To provide material to assist the House of Bishops in its reflections in November 2016, and subsequently as requested, and to assist the House in its development of any statements on these matters which it may provide to the wider Church.
  • To consider any matter which the Archbishops request that the group should have on its agenda.


Information from Church Times

Photo credit: Press Association


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David Allen

My, my your Graces, what flowing gowns and big purses you have.

Cynthia Katsarelis

No gay people. The hierarchy is going to get together and make decisions for the rest of the church without actually including gay people… Contrast this with TEC’s General Convention and it is pretty much all that we American’s need to know. CoE is so hierarchical and bureaucratic that a few made decrees for the many. We would never tolerate this few voices, but that is how they operate, top down.

Matthew Wright

I would have thought the phrase “nothing about us without us” would have been obvious by now.

Susan Moritz

From the Daily Telegraph:
“Liberals voiced anger while opponents of any change also privately hailed the make-up of the group, set up after a four-day gathering of all the bishops last week, as better than they expected from their point of view.”

Br. Gregory Shy, CoS

This article posted by Susan is worth reading. I had noted the inclusion of Bishop of Maidstone and also Ebbsfleet as being clear conservative voices. The article notes “there was not one LGBTI voice or openly supportive bishop in the group .” Are they really having a discussion or are they just pretending here?” If the “old white men” (and I can say this, as I am one) are just going to sit down and break out the cigars and port, it would seem pretty pointless.

Ross Warnell

It has occurred to me on this issue that the Church is facing another “Copernican Moment”, and the forces of reaction will fare no better than they did the first time around. I would suggest we spend a whole lot more time and effort on Jesus’ commandment to love each other as he loved us.

Prof. Christopher Seitz

A lot of good people on this list.

JC Fisher

…but not one of them gay (and out). “Let’s talk about you w/o you in the room”. Feh.

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