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New coalition seeks greater ‘inclusive’ clout in Church of England dioceses

20 February 2021

A NEW coalition describing itself as a “movement of supporting Anglicans for an inclusive Church” — and to be know by the acronym Mosaic — is to bring together campaigns on issues of race, ability, sexuality, gender, and gender identity.

One of its two co-chairs, Canon Tim Goode, a newly elected member of the Archbishops’ Council, said that Mosaic represented “the full range of marginalised groups within the Church of England. We stand far stronger together — for you cannot be a little bit inclusive.”

The coalition draws together leaders from the Campaign for Equal Marriage, Disability and Jesus, Inclusive Church, Modern Church, One Body One Faith, and the Ozanne Foundation. It hopes to grow to include other organisations.

Each of these bodies will continue to function independently, but the coalition is an attempt to co-ordinate their efforts to eradicate discrimination from church statements, policies, appointments, and actions

The other co-chair is Mosaic’s founder, the Revd Trevor Wyatt, Vicar of Christ Church Bexleyheath, in the diocese of Rochester.

The new group plans to work in dioceses “to give voice to the silent majority”, and currently has conveners in 23 of them. The Archdeacon of Sarum, the Ven. Alan Jeans, who is the convener in Salisbury diocese, said: “There are many clergy and laity who have an interest or need for our campaigning group. Mosaic offers those who are marginalised or subject to discrimination a listening ear. We also aim to be a point of contact for the bishop’s staff with regards to inclusivity issues within the diocese.”

Jayne Ozanne, one of eight patrons, said that one of the group’s early objectives was to ensure that LGBTI+ people could engage safely in debates about Living in Love and Faith.

The other patrons are: the Dean of Guildford, the Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams, who chairs Inclusive Church; the Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, the Ven. Peter Leonard, who chairs One Body One Faith; the Revd Bill Braviner, Priest-in-Charge of St Peter’s, Stockton-on-Tees, and of Elton, and Durham Diocesan Disability Adviser, from Disability and Jesus; the Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, one of the C of E’s BAME clergy; the Deans of Bristol (the Very Revd Mandy Ford) and St Edmundsbury (the the Very Revd Joe Hawes), both of whom have civil partners; and the Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, the Ven. Malcolm Chamberlain. Archdeacon Chamberlain recently helped to set up the Evangelical Forum at the General Synod.

mosaic-anglicans.org

 

Q & A:

 

CT: By what criteria were members of the coalition chosen?

Trevor Wyatt: “We chose senior leaders who represent the full breadth of inclusion issues within the Church of England, and who were in full agreement with our aims. We also wanted to ensure a range of church traditions and geographical spread.”

 

Were there any groups who were invited and declined? Any who wished to join but were rejected? Is there a statement of faith to which an organisation must subscribe if it wishes to join?

Trevor Wyatt: “We haven’t formally invited other groups to join us. Indeed, we don’t have ‘formal relationships’ per se with any other groups; however, at local level within dioceses we anticipate Mosaic will work collaboratively with other groups and individuals who are championing specific inclusion issues. There were therefore no organisations who we rejected.”

Tim Goode: “There is no ‘statement of faith’ as such. However, we have created a document: ‘Mosaic Journeying Together’, which expresses what Mosaic aims to do and our theological rationale. We anticipate that all our members would want to agree with these aims, but we do not require them to ‘sign’ them as some groups have a tendency to do.”

Joe Hawes: “We invite all to join with us — whoever they are — who want to work to end all forms of discrimination currently operating in the Church.”

 

Given the open, non-membership model of Christianity, why is such a coalition needed?

Jayne Ozanne: “The current policies and culture of the Church of England sadly actively discriminate against various sections of society; it also has a poor track record of ensuring full participation amongst others. MOSAIC believes that the Church of England should be a Church for all England, and that there should be no second-class citizens. We aim to be a grass-roots campaigning movement which will galvanise a broad coalition of support in every diocese, and so lead inexorably to radical change.”

Mandy Ford: “There is no other organisation fulfilling this grass-roots campaigning role in each diocese.”

 

It’s often easier to understand an organisation by asking what it’s against. What are you against?

Jackie Doyle-Brett (steering-group member and convenor): “Mosaic is against all forms of discrimination and anything that forms a barrier to inclusion in the life of the Church.”

 

What do you say to the members of individual organisations in the coalition who don’t fit into the interlocking bit of the Venn Diagram, and who disagree with some of the aims of other coalition members?

Tim Goode: “We would encourage those who disagree with some of our aims to engage with us. We would invite them to partner with us on areas where we agree, and, in areas where we disagree, let’s disagree well and, as long as no harm is being caused, let us respect our different perspectives.”

 

How will you act jointly? Will every statement have to be signed off by multiple coalition members? What if a member demurs? Or a member organisation puts out a statement with which others disagree?

Tim Goode: “Statements from Mosaic will be agreed and signed off by the patrons. A number of patrons of Mosaic also represent other organisations/groups, which enables us to ensure that our statements are aligned to their own statements.”

 

On the principle that every campaigning group should plan its demise, what would the Church need to look like for you to say your work is done?

Jackie Doyle-Brett: “Our work will be done when change has been realised, policies of the Church have changed, and the Church has stopped discriminating against groups currently excluded from full participation in its life.”

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