18 January 2023
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As you know, the Church of England has been engaged in listening and praying respectfully, and with mutual love, in the area of sexuality. You may have seen the media coverage today that emerged following the latest meeting of the College of Bishops about this process, Living in Love and Faith. Please see the Church of England press release issued today.
The proposals, which follow a six- year period of listening, learning and discernment, will offer the fullest pastoral provision without changing the Church’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony. This includes a range of draft prayers known as prayers of love and faith which could be used voluntarily in churches for couples who have marked a significant stage of their relationship such as civil marriage or civil partnership. The Bishops are commending these materials to General Synod for consideration. I am saying this as the Bishops are likely – I hope – to authorise them for use come what may.
In my Presidential Address at the last Diocesan Synod in November last year, I spoke about Living in Love and Faith and my responsibility to ensure the highest possible degree of unity which is Christ’s command to his Church. The Diocese of Southwark is, as I said then, a microcosm of the Anglican Communion. Let us rejoice and be glad that the Church of England and the Diocese of Southwark has space for each of us and I do hope the conversations we have had, and will continue to have in the Diocese, will enable us all to continue to speak well of each other.
Prayers from Jordan and every good wish