Letter of encouragement to our Bishops

Last Sunday, Revd Tim invited church members to sign a letter of encouragement to our Bishops, Robert, Sarah and Nick, suporting their ongoing contribution to discussions across the Church of England and it’s synods concerning same sex attraction.

This is the text of the letter, which has been signed and delivered. If you were not present on Sunday and would like to sign, or if you have any questions or concerns about the content of the letter, or simply need to know more about a Christian response to the issue, please talk to Tim.

Please continue to pray for our Bishops, and Christian churches across the country as the debate continues, that they (we) will be faithful to Christ, guided by his word and open to the work of Holy Spirit.

We are writing to you as the College of Bishops prepares to meet in September, and the whole
House of Bishops in December, to discern the way forward after the facilitated conversations.

Our greatest desire is for all people to discover the fulness of life that comes through the
forgiveness of sin and the obedience of faith in Jesus Christ. We wish to welcome and give pastoral support to everyone, whatever their experience of sexual attraction, in the hope that we might all grow in holiness under the Lordship of Jesus.

The Church has always taught that marriage is the lifelong and exclusive union of one man and one woman, and the only proper and holy context for sexual intercourse. It is a sacramental sign of God’s purpose to unite all people in Christ. This is the clear teaching of our Lord in scripture, and the unanimous tradition of the church.

We are grateful for the firm stance of this Diocese, and want to assure you of our continuing prayers for you at this critical moment, when several provinces of the Anglican Communion and many protestant denominations in the United Kingdom have already voted to bless same-sex unions, and there is widespread confusion in our churches and wider society about God’s purposes for marriage and human sexuality.

We are praying that you will contend for the faith once delivered to the saints with courage and
compassion by upholding the clear teaching of scripture and the unanimous tradition of the catholic church and so proclaim afresh the liberating news of the gospel in this generation.

We know this will be costly, and attract much criticism, which is why we are writing to encourage you. We do not see how the church can uphold mutually contradictory positions on what God does or does not bless, or what does or does not require repentance, and we fear that any move to change the doctrine, liturgy or pastoral discipline of the Church of England will only deepen division and hasten the decline of the Church of England.

 

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