THE damage to mission wrought by the Church’s current stance on same-sex relationships, particularly among young people, should spur change, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said last week.
In an address to his diocesan synod on Saturday, he described how the diocese must work with LGBT Christians to “find appropriate ways of expressing their love — for it is not good for human beings to be alone — in permanent, faithful, stable relationships”. There was “no reason why prayers of thanksgiving for these relationships – perhaps a eucharist — cannot be offered”.
His proposals for putting into practice the “radical inclusion” called for by the Archbishops (News, 17 February) would go “too far” for some, he acknowledged. “Others think it nowhere near far enough. But I hope and pray that even these small steps will make a difference; for the pastoral and missiological implications of this issue, especially with young people, mean that we must do something, and that we cannot simply wait till there is complete ecumenical and Anglican Communion agreement before doing anything.”
He warned that the Church was “seen as immoral by the culture in which it is set”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has acknowledged that “the vast majority of people under 35 not only think that what we’re saying is incomprehensible but also think that we’re plain wrong and wicked, and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice. We have to be real about that.”