Thursday, October 6, 2011

Church of Ireland Commits To Listening Process

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland released this statement on a listening process to begin soon. Integrity USA applauds the Archbishops and Bishops for their committment to a process of sharing views and stories. It is only by listening to the witness of the LGBT community that hearts and minds will change.

We met over three days in an atmosphere of prayer and worship to reflect on current disquiet in the Church caused by disagreements on the matter of human sexuality. We acknowledge that this tension is a cause of distress to many.

Our discussions were frank and careful and, at times, painful. We committed ourselves to listen carefully to one another and speak openly about our differences within the context of a variety of reactions within the Church. Strengthened by our honest interchange of views, we corporately agreed a way forward.

A pastoral letter to the Church will be issued through the Clergy in the next few days. It will highlight key themes and outline a process by which the Church may move forward. This will involve a major conference in Spring 2012 to which members of the General Synod and others will be invited. The conference will provide an important opportunity to learn from and listen to one another as the Church strives to discern the mind of Christ.

As Bishops we commit ourselves to work together on these issues. In addition, we envisage that further study and research on biblical, theological and legal issues will be required.

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland
The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough
The Most Revd Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath & Kildare
The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down & Dromore
The Rt Revd Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross
The Rt Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh
The Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry & Raphoe
The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel & Ossory
The Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor
The Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe
The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry
The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher

Changing Attitude Ireland is a Church of Ireland group with ecumenical friends, gay and heterosexual, lay and ordained, working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons within our churches. It is dedicated to celebrating and maintaining the traditional inclusivity and diversity of the Anglican Communion.

Here is their statement in response.

The Secretary of Changing Attitude Ireland, Canon Charles Kenny, welcomed the Church of Ireland Archbishops' and Bishops' Statement on human sexuality. According to Canon Kenny “Changing Attitude Ireland are happy to hear that the Bishops are committing themselves to listening and speaking openly about these complicated issues. It is our hope and prayer that churchmen and women will respond to this call for serious and thoughtful seeking out of the mind of Christ for our day” He added that “We hope that the atmosphere at the proposed Conference will make it possible for gay and lesbian church people, lay and clerical, to participate honestly in the discussion about human sexuality”.

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