This is a joint press release from The Power of Partnership, which is a grouping of six inclusive Christian organisations. See the list of partners below.
As a partnership of inclusive Christian organisations, we welcome the publication of Together in Love and Faith by the Bishop of Oxford and acknowledge the step forward that it represents in the journey towards full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ+ people in the Church of England.
In taking this step Dr Croft, and those other senior clergy who have subsequently spoken out in support of his conclusions, demonstrate that there is a growing recognition of the need for change in attitude within the established church.
Whilst we welcome this move, we would also point out that it is long overdue. Although we acknowledge the complexities of church structures, our hope and challenge is that leaders can, and will, do better.
In his essay Dr Croft indicates that he has taken significant time to consider his position. We reflect that to have the time to do so is a privilege in itself.
In that time, how many were driven to desperation as they sought to be true to their faith, while also coming to terms with their sexuality? The way we treat LGBTQ+ people has long been a matter of urgency.
It is imperative that the church is able to hold a space where people can explore new horizons in their theology, while recognising that holding differences in tension has long been a practice of the church.
Although our support is not unqualified, we do wish to celebrate this step and acknowledge the courage and sincerity with which Dr Croft and other supportive clergy have approached the issue.
We would say to the church, though, that, while it takes time to evaluate, lives are at stake. It is essential that we all now move forward and put the damaging legacy of exclusivity behind us.
Note to editors: The Power of Partnership is an agreement made by six inclusive Christian organisations in February 2021 to: ‘challenge inequality, pursue justice, and provide teaching and resources, for the good of the Kingdom of God.’ Those organisations are: Inclusive Church, Modern Church, OneBodyOneFaith, Open Table Network, Progressive Christianity Network Britain, Student Christian Movement
To speak to representatives contact Simon Cross: email@example.com or 07817 206 204