A PRIEST in a same-sex marriage has described how he found
participating in shared conversations on sexuality "demeaning and
The Shared Conversations on Scripture, Mission and Human
Sexuality started last month, and are taking place in three-day
meetings, organised by region, until next March (
News, 8 May). Canon Jeremy Pemberton, Deputy Senior Chaplain in
the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, took part in the East
Midlands conversations this month.
"I found that my salvation, my standing as a Christian, my
vocation, my marriage, my ministry, my motives, my integrity, were
all, sometimes explicitly and sometimes more implicitly, questioned
or denied," he wrote in a blog post this month.
Canon Pemberton wrote: "It is the case that these Conversations
have no explicit intended outcomes, nor is there any reporting
structure beyond the Conversations themselves."
Also at the East Midlands event was the Priest-in-Charge of St
Mary the Virgin, Finedon, the Revd Richard Coles, who presents
Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4. He saw them more
In a blog posted the Sunday before last, he said that a
conservative Evangelical's "gracious and thoughtful" explanation of
his position was "impressive and valuable".
A pledge from another participant that his position would not
change, but that he would not leave the Church, was "significant
for it encourages the hope that some change and some accommodation
may be reached", Fr Coles wrote.
Shared conversations have also been held in Yorkshire. In a blog
written last Sunday, Tim Moore said that it had become apparent to
him that "change was travelling in only one direction: people's
views were changing towards greater acceptance of LGBT+ people in
the Church and the imperative to celebrate committed same-sex
relationships in a sacramental way."
The "matter-of-fact" talk of the possibility of people's
splitting away from the Church had been "refreshing" when compared
with the "timid and euphemistic way notions of unity are dealt with
in a lot of church-political discourse".
He shared Canon Pemberton's concerns that there was no "official
process to follow up on the Conversations", but had found that a
"shared faith, almost without us realising, kindled a sense of
community over those few days away".
A Scottish model. The Church of Scotland has voted in
favour of allowing people in civil partnerships to be called as
ministers and deacons. While the Church has adopted a position that
maintains "a traditional view of marriage between a man and woman",
individual congregations will be allowed to "opt out" if they wish
to appoint a minister or a deacon in a civil partnership.
The General Assembly passed the motion by 309 to 182, on
Saturday, after years of debates and votes. On Thursday, it will be
asked to consider amending the new law to include ministers in