Oxford Evangelical Fellowship Statement on the Bishop of Oxford’s “Together in Love and Faith”

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In his essay ‘Together in Love and Faith’, Bishop Steven explains how he came to change his mind in relation to same-sex relationships and argues that they should be fully celebrated by the Church of England, with the ban on the marriage of same-sex couples in church being removed. We are grieved by this publication, believing that it departs from the clear teaching of the Bible in relation to sex and marriage.  
 
We are grateful that Bishop Steven recognises “the validity and integrity” of the traditional view and affirms the ministry of those who uphold it, as bringing blessing in many ways “often including the welcome and care extended to LGBTQ+ people”. We also appreciate his recognition that a change in the Church’s position will require, not only the protection of conscience of those who could not support this, but also a differentiation of ministry and oversight. There are those in the Diocese who have already felt the need for this, believing these matters to be first-order issues and, very sadly, as a result of this publication, that number is bound to increase.  
 
We encourage our members to engage with this debate with the same spirit of grace that Bishop Steven has himself exhibited. We should always remember that this is not firstly a political issue but, above all, a deeply personal and pastoral one. 
 
Vaughan Roberts, writing from his own experience of same-sex attraction, has written a response to Bishop Steven’s piece.  
 
Will Pearson-Gee (Chair) 
Martin Davy 
James Kennedy 
Martin Kuhrt 
Vaughan Roberts