A Response from the LGBTQ+ Common Concern Network of the Iona Community to the outcomes of the Church of England’s process, Living in Love and Faith.
From Monday 6th to Thursday 9th February, the General Synod of the Church of England will meet to discuss, among many things, the outcome of the Living in Love and Faith process. Our LGBTQ+ CCN has carefully considered a statement and a litany in response to the decisions taken thus far.
A Litany in Response to Living in Love and Faith
We gather as God’s beloved ones, to pray for justice and love.
We pray for those who have participated in the Living in Love and Faith process, especially those who have dared to make themselves vulnerable by telling their stories, as well as those who have felt compelled to remain silent. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for all who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity, especially those who have been inhibited from embracing the wholeness of who they are by the policies and doctrines of the Church of England and other faith communities. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those who long to be married in their home church and continue to be excluded. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those who still do not have access to any form of legal marriage or covenant protections in this country due to their gender identity. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those who choose not to marry, or who express their love and identities in other ways. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those within the Church of England who are angered and saddened by this compromise, those who feel conflicted about whether to remain in the Church, and especially those clergy who in their hearts would like to fully include everyone in the life and rituals of the church. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those outside the Church of England, who are nevertheless impacted by its exclusionary statements and teachings, because of its position as the established church. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those who have been wounded by the actions of the Church in the past and present, those who have lost their lives or their loved ones, and those who are struggling with their mental health due to the impacts of this decision. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those who will engage in the continued conversation and those who make decisions on behalf of the Church of England, especially those gathered at General Synod. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
We pray for those who continue to work for justice within the Church and for the full inclusion and celebration of all loving relationships. You are welcomed by God, and you are loved.
Everloving and compassionate God, as we continue on our journey to wholeness and a more loving community on earth, we celebrate the lives of all your children, especially those who LBGTQ+, and the gift of committed faithful relationships, which are a wonderful and beautiful expression of your own love for us.
We hold in prayer the people of this land and of all nations who are impacted by the decisions of The Church of England, and we pray that you would increase our hope, dispel our apathy, inspire our imagination, and deepen our commitment, that we may become the signs of your beloved community.
A Response from the LGBTQ+ Common Concern Network of the Iona Community to Living in Love and Faith
As an ecumenical movement working for justice and peace, the Iona Community affirms the inherent goodness of people of all sexualities and genders and their loving relationships. We have made a commitment to “celebrate human diversity and actively work to combat discrimination on grounds of […] gender, […] sexual orientation or religion.”
The LGBTQ+ Common Concern Network of The Iona Community is deeply disappointed by the outcome of the Living in Love and Faith process and by the House of Bishop’s recommendation to continue to exclude many LGBTQ+ persons from marrying in the church. It is heartbreaking that the Church of England remains unwilling to fully include people of all sexualities and genders.
We appreciate the Bishops’ apology for the pain the Church has caused in the past. We acknowledge this step forward in introducing the draft liturgies for Prayer for Love and Faith. It is not our experience that injustice can always be solved by compromise. As long as loving couples who wish to be married are excluded from the rites and rituals of the church, there is inequality.
We remain intensely concerned about the ongoing impact that exclusionary teachings by the Church of England have on LGBTQ+ persons and those who love them, and the impact in wider society. These include detrimental effects on health and wellbeing, familial relationships, social connections, and access to faith communities, leading in many cases to deep suffering and in some cases tragic loss of life through violence and even suicide.
The House of Bishops have asked that a generous space is created for the Holy Spirit. In this spirit, we offer here a litany from the Iona Community, praying for all who are involved in or affected by the Living in Love and Faith process, hoping that those with power will right the ongoing injustice, and affirming that each person is welcomed and loved by God.
Prepared by a working group of the LGBTQ+ CCN.