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Key opportunity for the Church to stand for truth: 28th February

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20th February 2007

Summary

On February 28th the Church of England’s decision-making body, the General Synod, will be debating two crucial motions on the subject of homosexuality in the Church. Because the Church of England is the state church the media often report their debates on sexuality as if representative of the views of all Christian denominations. The 28th February debate is therefore of vital importance in making a stand for Biblical truth. We are calling for Christians across this country from every denomination to call upon the Church of England at the General Synod to make a clear and principled stand (full practical details, below).

The debate also falls at a time when the Christian position on these issues is being challenged and scrutinised from many quarters: a gauntlet has been laid down - will the Church shift its stance on homosexuality to fit in with the Government’s increasingly liberal laws like the Civil Partnerships Act (which is ‘gay marriage’ in all but name) and the forthcoming Sexual Orientation Regulations, or will the Church stand firmly in its reliance on the unchanging Word of God?

Over the last few months the media have shone a spotlight on the Church’s position in relation to homosexuality, with the public watching and waiting for the Christian response to politicians and the legal system treating homosexual relationships and extra-marital heterosexual relationships as being of equal worth and value to the perfect model of marriage which God instituted at the creation of mankind (Genesis Chapter 2).

Recent highly publicised discussions about the issues of gay adoption, faith schools and the rights of unmarried cohabitees, mean that there is an unprecedented platform for the Church to speak boldly about God’s creation plan for humanity and his desire to reconcile sinful man to Him through Jesus Christ. Unless we do so the Church will in effect become ‘privatised’. We will be allowed to believe within our places of worship but the State will ensure, by law that we are not allowed to express those beliefs and live by them fully in the public square. This is already happening and the Sexual Orientation Regulations are a stark reminder of this.

The Church is called not to reflect society’s standards, but rather to show society how to live. There is a battle for truth taking place in this nation. The battle relates to:

  • the meaning of family

  • the meaning of marriage

  • the welfare of children, and what sort of family and upbringing is in their best interests.

We are calling upon all church leaders of every denomination to open their churches on February 28th so that Christians all over the country can gather to pray that the General Synod will use this unique day to take a strong stand for marriage and for the authority of scripture. If you are a member of a congregation please ask your church leader to take this stand

We urge you to read the two General Synod motions about homosexuality (below) and then contact members of the General Synod (contact information below) from your area to urge them to support Paul Perkin's motion which clarifies the Church’s witness to the Bible’s teaching on sexual morality.

At the same time, if you share our concerns, please urge them to oppose the motion put forward by Mary Gilbert. We believe this motion would be unhelpful and could lead to further confusion and misunderstanding about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality. In particular, the motion could give the impression that all forms of relationship are equally acceptable and that the Bible has nothing to say about the rights and wrongs of extra-marital relationships.

On February 28th Christians must ensure that instead of the general public being fed the view that there is a potential rift between the conservative and liberal wings of the state church on this issues, they instead become aware of a mass movement of Christians who believe in biblical Truth with an unflinching commitment to God’s model of marriage for society: a life-long commitment between a man and a woman.

Below are telephone numbers of all the diocesan offices of the Church of England. PLEASE call your local office and ask for the e-mail address or contact address of your local General Synod Reps. Then please make contact with them THIS WEEK and support them as they attend the meeting on the 28th. Please pray for clear support, in particular, for Paul Perkin’s motion.

Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel.

The two Synod motions


Mary Gilbert’s motion reads:

700 ‘That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire; and, bearing in mind this diversity,
a. agree that a homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life;
b. invite parish and cathedral congregations to welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church; and
c. urge every parish to ensure a climate of sufficient acceptance and safety to enable the experience of lesbian and gay people to be heard, as successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978 (resolution 10), 1988 (resolution 64), and 1998 (resolution 1.10) have requested.’

Paul Perkin’s motion reads:

701 ‘That this Synod, deeply concerned that
a. in an understandable desire to remedy injustice and remove unjust discrimination, the Government’s Civil Partnership Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of the relationship of marriage;
b. the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement, while reiterating the Church’s basic teaching on marriage, has produced a recipe for confusion by not stating clearly that civil partnerships entered into under the CP Act would be inconsistent with Christian teaching;
c. that the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has given to bishops the task of ensuring that clergy who enter into these partnerships adhere to church teaching in the area of sexuality without giving the bishops the clear means to do so; and
d. that by declaring that lay people who enter into such partnerships should not be asked about the nature of their relationship, in the context of preparation for baptism and confirmation, as well as for the purposes of receiving Holy Communion, the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has compromised pastoral discipline at the local level:
declare its support for bishops, clergy and other ministers who continue to minister the godly discipline required by the scriptures and the canons and request the House of Bishops to set up a study of the ways in which that discipline is being applied and the implications thereof for future pastoral guidance and bring a report to Synod by the July 2007 Group of Sessions.’

Phone numbers for Church of England diocesan offices

Please use this alphabetical list to find the office nearest you, and then call them for contact details of your local Synod representative.

Bath & Wells 01749 670 777
Birmingham 0121 426 0400
Blackburn 01254 503070
Bristol 0117 9060100
Bradford 01535 650 555
Canterbury 01227 459 401
Carlisle 01228 522 573
Chelmsford 01245 294 400
Chester 01244 620444
Chichester 01273 421 021
Coventry 024 7652 1200
Derby 01332 382 233
Durham 01388 604515
Ely 01353 652702
Exeter 01392 272 686
Gloucester 01425 410022
Guildford 01483 571826
Hereford 01432 353863
Leicester 0116 248 7400
Lichfield 01543 306030
Lincoln 01522 529241
Liverpool 0151 709 2885
London 020 7932 1100
Manchester 0161 792 2096
Newcastle 0191 270 4100
Norwich 01603 880 853
Oxford 01865 208200
Peterborough 01733 562 492
Portsmouth 023 9289 9650
Ripon & Leeds 0113 200 0540
Rochester 01634 560000
St Albans 01727 854 532
St Eds/Ipswich 01473 298500
Salisbury 01722 411 922
Sheffield 01709 309 100
Southwark 020 7403 8686
Southwell 01636 814 331
Truro 01872 274 351
Wakefield 01924 255349
Winchester 01962 844 644
Worcester 01905 20537
York 01904 699 500

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