The third in-person meeting of the College of Bishops to discern a way forward for the Church of England on questions of identity, sexuality and marriage was held on Tuesday 17 January 2023.
The meeting marked the culmination of a process of discernment that began six years ago under the banner ‘Living in Love and Faith’ (LLF) in which people were invited to share their learning, insights and reflections using resources made available across dioceses and online.
Over 6,000 responses were received. These responses were gathered into a report called ‘Listening in Love and Faith’ which, together with a technical report and an essay entitled ‘Friendship and the Body of Christ’, were some of the diverse resources used to support the bishops in their process over the course of the three meetings dedicated to seeking to discern what they believe God is saying to the Church of England today.
The meeting, which was held over the course of one day, reviewed the bishops’ response to the process and considered a number of draft papers which will form the basis for use at General Synod in February as well as background materials for further discernment.
All of these papers will be finalised and made publicly available from Friday 20 January.
As the discernment process draws to its close, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullaly, chair of the bishops’ Next Steps Group, said: “Today’s College marks the end of a long and considered process characterised by respect and understanding of the positions we all individually hold as we walk together with God.
“We now ask for prayers as papers are taken forward to General Synod for their consideration.”
House of Bishops – 17 January 2023
Following the conclusion of the College of Bishops meeting, the House of Bishops then met and continued the final review of LLF resources before their recommendation to Synod.
The House of Bishops discussed a further range of papers and motions for debate related to the February Synod including LLF and other issues.
The meeting concluded in prayer.