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CofE sexuality advisory group: five men, no women.

CofE sexuality advisory group: five men, no women.

The Church of England has appointed a committee of five* men to study issues of human sexuality and produce a report for the House of Bishops.

The membership of a group to advise the House of Bishops on the Church of England’s approach to human sexuality has been announced. The Group will be chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling. Sir Joseph, a former Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Office, chaired the group that produced the report on senior church appointments, Talent and Calling, published in 2007.

The other members of the Group are the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham, the Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Rev Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Jonathan Baker and the Bishop of Warwick, the Rt Rev John Stroyan.

The House of Bishops announced on 1 July that it intended to draw together material from the listening process undertaken within the Church of England over recent years in the light of the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution on human sexuality. It also committed itself to offering proposals on how the continuing discussion within the Church of England about these matters might best be shaped in the light of the listening process. The task of the new group is to help the House discharge its commitment to produce a consultation document in 2013. The membership of another group, advising the House on its review of the 2005 civil partnership statement, was announced on 1 December.

Colin Coward at Changing Attitude responds:

Eight people, six of whom were members of Synod, were appointed to review senior appointments. Five people, one of whom is a member of Synod, have been appointed to advise the House of Bishops on the Church of England’s approach to human sexuality. There are no women. There is one lay man, so no reason why at least one woman shouldn’t have been appointed. This is a group addressing the full breadth of human sexuality, after all.

Those selected don’t give any confidence that they are going to produce a report which will be constructive for the church process. With the exception of +Gloucester, they don’t come with an existing background of experience and knowledge about LGB&T issues. Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, will have plenty of contact with gay male priests, but the majority of them will be deep in the closet. Why appoint a group with these characteristics?

The task of the new group is to help the House discharge its commitment to produce a consultation document in 2013. In July 2011 The House of Bishops announced that it intended to draw together material from the listening process undertaken within the Church of England over recent years in the light of the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution on human sexuality. It also committed itself to offering proposals on how the continuing discussion within the Church of England about these matters might best be shaped in the light of the listening process.

So two years down the line, we can look forward to ‘something’ from a group which will ‘help the House discharge its commitment to produce a consultation document’. The House will then offer proposals on how continuing discussion might best be shaped. This is worse than a kick into touch, this (to mix metaphors) is a wildly deliberate drive into the longest of long grass.

Now, I will be happy to find myself surprised by the final outcome but my reading of the composition of the group is that it is not designed to be confidently creative in taking the church forward to a produce a report that provides a step change in the process.

Whoever appointed the group has no sense of the urgency for LGB&T Anglicans for a dramatically radical revision of Issues in Human Sexuality to be produced. We have been impatiently waiting for movement. What we have been presented with seems to be a strategy for indefinite delay.

* = not eight as originally posted. atg

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Lois Keen

Required reading for these five, and those who appointed them, before they even begin on LGBT issues: Dorothy Sayers' "Are Women Human?" (sigh)

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tgflux

What year is it again? 1912? When they thought women shouldn't/couldn't VOTE?

It's ridiculous, that on so important a subject as sexuality, the IICs in the CofE thought they could get away w/ appointing NO women. WTF???

JC Fisher

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Andrew Gerns

D'oh!

(Fixed now. Thanks, Simon)

Andrew

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Simon Sarmiento

Err, it's a committee of FIVE men.

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