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Annual Parish Meeting, March 13th, 7pm

Tuesday, 28 February 2023 11:47

The Church is holding its Annual Parish Meeting on Monday March 13th at 7pm in the Church.

Everyone is welcome.

There has been a lot of discussions in the church around same sex couples. Recently the General Synod (the churches governing body) voted to allow same sex blessings in church and to remove some of the restrictions on clergy who are same sex attracted. I think this is a good step forward for the church and reflects the views of most Christians I know. One of the key points in the proposal was an apology as to the way people in the LGBTQI+ community have and continue to be treated in the church.

But where does that leave us now? One of the most important things I think is to ramp up our message on welcome and inclusion. All are welcome in the church and that is the key message. Gay or straight, modern or traditional, religious or not. For many Christians, one of the most frequently first-asked questions on this topic is, “What does the Bible say about attraction to someone of the same sex?” Although it’s unlikely that the biblical authors had any notion of sexual orientation (for example, the term homosexual wasn't even coined until the late 19th century) for many people of faith, the Bible is looked to for timeless guidance on what it means to honour God with our lives; and this most certainly includes our sexuality.

Before we can jump into how I, as a Christian, can maintain the authority of the Bible and also affirm sexual diversity, it might be helpful if we started with a brief but clear overview of some of the assumptions informing many Christian approaches to understanding the Bible. The study of biblical interpretation is called hermeneutics and helps us to address these kinds of questions. Hermeneutics is what we do when we take a text and ask not just “what does this say,” but “what does this mean?”

In asking, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality” (or more appropriately stated, “what does the Bible say about attraction to someone of the same sex,”) our task is to explore what the relevant biblical passages on the topic meant in their original context and what they mean for us today. More specifically, we are seeking to determine if the biblical writers were condemning specific practices related to sexuality in the ancient world, or were they indeed condemning all same-sex relationships of any kind for the rest of time?

For many evangelicals and other conservative Christians, the answer to this question is ‘yes’. Their interpretation is that same-sex relationships are not able to reflect God’s creative intent. There are some often quoted bible verses that are used to back up this view: In Genesis 1 "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." In Gen 2 we go on to hear - 'Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.' Right after we hear about God creating woman out of Adam's rib.

I find it really hard to follow the literal understanding of these verses to mean that Homosexuality or same sex attraction is a sin. This is the same way I don't believe that God Making woman from Adam's rib is an accurate historical account. There are those that do and I have to state that I might be wrong. I think it is one of the things which we can hold both views in the church. Just like the view of the importance of the Eucharist, true nature of God and the use of Bells candles and incense in church.

Anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship of any kind can testify to the range of differences (and resulting conflicts) that are an inherent part of any two personalities attempting to integrate their lives. All our differences can lead to empathy, compassion, good listening, sacrifice, and what it means to “love our neighbour as ourselves,”

A tall order, but nevertheless something countless LGBTQ+ individuals and couples have been living into and continue to live into today and this is why I am so glad that the Church of England is slowly moving towards a positive and inclusive new era.