Reporting back from the recent Deanery Synod held at St John’s

Deanery Synod Meeting
June 2015

Antony Spencer opened the evening with a short Bible reading and prayer. There were two main items on the agenda for the evening: A presentation of Safe Families for Children and then discussion of the Pilling Report and issues arising from Same-Sex Civil Marriage

Safe Families for Children logoSafe Families for Children is a movement of the church to care for children whose parents are going through a hard time. The aim is to reduce the risk of children being abused or neglected or having to be taken into care.

This is done in a number of ways by providing:
• ‘Host families’ to take children into their homes for a short time (2-14 nights) whilst their parents sort out their pressing problems;
• ‘Family friends’ who befriend, mentor and support parents through their crisis
• ‘Resource friends’ who provide practical support e.g. a stair gate or help with cooking

Safe Families for Children started in the north of England and in year one helped 101 families. They have recently established a hub in the West Midlands and are looking for local volunteers. They have a rigorous vetting system and provide extensive training for all volunteers.

Website: safefamiliesforchildren.com/west-midlands
Email: westmidlands@safefamiliesforchildren.com
Tel: 0121 740 0237

 

The Pilling Report imageThe Pilling Report
Download Report

The purpose of this item was to inform synod members of the range of issues and perspectives, but not to have a debate.

Archdeacon Hayward Osborne set the scene by providing an overview of the findings contained in the report. The main recommendation of the Pilling Report that the subject of sexuality, with its history of deeply entrenched views, would best be addressed by facilitated conversations, ecumenically, across the Anglican Communion and at national and diocesan level and that this should continue to involve profound reflection on the interpretation and application of Scripture. Bishop David has convened a group of people to start the conversations in the Birmingham Diocese.

There followed four speakers who presented the issues from different perspectives. The first speaker was a vicar who is unmarried. He spoke very honestly about his struggles with attraction to the opposite sex but the need for celibacy. He believed that he got his strength and guidance from the Scriptures. However, this did not mean that he did not get lonely. He was grateful for long standing friendships.

The second speaker was a married vicar who talked about his experience with gay people during his years of ministry. He has found that his views have moved over the years and whilst able to welcome gay people into his congregation and to accept civil partnerships feels unable to accept same-sex marriage. He described himself as theologically conservative but pastorally liberal. He also felt it important that the Church speaks out against promiscuity and in favour of fidelity for all.

The third speaker was a mother with two children who are both gay. She described how as a Christian she struggled to come to terms with this. She is now part of a society that helps Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG).

The final speaker was a priest who is lesbian. She described that struggles she had with ordination and how she decided she must give up a committed relationship and become celibate before ordination. Again she spoke of the loneliness of being single. She also felt that the Church should stand against homophobia and support committed relationships including those between people of the same sex. She also felt that the conversations on this subject should include the wider Anglican Communion.

The meeting finished with the Grace.

Report compiled by St John’s Deanery Synod Rep, Carol Dealey

 

 

 

 

28th Jul 2015 Posted in: News by Stella Jennings 0

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