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Members named for groups that will advise bishops on how to introduce same-sex blessings

03 May 2023

Max Colson/Church Times

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, introduces proposals for same-sex blessings at the General Synod in London, in February. She will lead the new steering group

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, introduces proposals for same-sex blessings at the General Synod in London, in February. She will le...

THE membership and terms of reference for the three Living in Love and Faith (LLF) implementation groups were published on Tuesday, after the first meeting of the groups two weeks ago (Friday 21 April).

Each group has a particular focus: one will examine the draft Prayers of Love and Faith, another will focus on the new pastoral guidance for clergy and lay readers, and a third will consider what “pastoral reassurance” should be offered to those who do not wish to use the new prayers.

The groups are made up of bishops and non-episcopal members. The terms of reference state that the groups are not intended to be representative, but “are inclusive of a range of expertise from those engaged in the LLF process”.

The terms of reference also make clear that the groups will not make decisions about the issues under discussion, but “will do the work of setting out options . . . to be considered by the House and College of Bishops”.

A steering group comprising the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally; the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen; and the episcopal co-chairs of the other groups, will co-ordinate the discussions and report to the College and House of Bishops.

The group charged with refining the Prayers of Love and Faith, and producing material and guidance to go alongside them, will be chaired by the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell; and the Bishop of Croydon, Dr Rosemarie Mallett.

The Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave; the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Libby Lane; the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun; the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd Jonathan Baker; and the Bishop of Horsham, the Rt Revd Ruth Bushyager, are the other episcopal members of the group.

The non-episcopal members of the group are the Revd Dr Rachel Mann, the Revd David Runcorn, the Revd Leah Vasey-Saunders, and the Ven. Fiona Gibson.

The Bishop of Southampton, the Rt Revd Debbie Sellin, and the Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Sam Corley, will chair the group developing new pastoral guidance. The terms of reference acknowledge the urgency of this work in the light of the timeline for ministerial vocations.

The other episcopal members of the group are the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway; the Bishop of Grantham, Dr Nick Chamberlain; the Bishop of Portsmouth, Dr Jonathan Frost; the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Viv Faull; the Bishop of Oswestry, the Rt Revd Paul Thomas; the Bishop of Huntingdon, Dr Dagmar Winter; the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Pete Wilcox; and the Bishop of Lancaster, Dr Jill Duff.

The non-episcopal members of the group are the Revd Jo Winn-Smith; the Revd Neil Patterson; the Revd Dr Charlie Bell; Dr David Bennett; Sarah Jackson; and the Revd Dr Andrew Goddard.

The final group will, according to the terms of reference, consider “what will be required in order to ensure freedom of conscience for clergy”, including bishops. This group will be chaired by the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, and the Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Jackie Searle.

The other bishops in the group are the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley; the Bishop of Hull, Dr Eleanor Sanderson; the Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Revd Sophie Jelley; the Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Revd John Holbrook; the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Gavin Collins; the Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Revd Rob Saner-Haigh; and the Bishop of Colchester, the Rt Revd Roger Morris.

The non-episcopal members of the group are the Very Revd Joe Hawes; Izzy McDonald-Booth; the Revd Dr Christopher Landau; the Revd Charlie Skrine; the Revd Barney de Berry; the Revd Esther Prior; Ed Shaw; the Revd Kate Wharton; Canon Tim Goode; and Canon Giles Goddard.

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