THE Church of Ireland’s Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief has issued a study booklet for representatives of all dioceses before the findings and work of the committee are reported and debated at the General Synod in 2017.
The booklet, Guide to the Conversation on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief, was launched at Church House, Dublin, on Monday by the Primate of All Ireland, Dr Richard Clarke, and in Belfast the next day by Dr Clarke and the Dean of St Anne’s Cathedral, the Very Revd John Mann, who chairs the Select Committee.
Its remit is to enable the listening, dialogue, and learning process on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief to continue.
Dean Mann said that the committee members had first thought of taking a broad approach to sexuality, before deciding to concentrate on same-sex issues, in the light of current debates and recent legislation; but, after holding meetings and residential sessions, "the Select Committee sought theological and biblical guidance, as well as beginning a wide-ranging listening process whereby organisations and individuals were given the opportunity to express their views and experiences in a safe and confidential manner."
The committee, he said, had not sought to present the Guide as a solution to difficult issues in the Church’s life. Conflicting views were voiced, but there was "plenty of material to make the thinking person reflect, challenge preconceived notions, and give them a voice for their concerns, or the confidence to search out further guidance."
Study modules will also be available to encourage discussion and personal reflection.
The pro-gay lobby group Changing Attitude Ireland welcomed the publication of the Guide.