Letter regarding the Pastoral Guidance of the House of Bishops

Published by Anne Bennett on Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:05

The Vicar has written a letter to our Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Christopher Chessun, and the text is below. If you would like to add your name to this letter please sign it on Sunday 2nd February or email the vicar and she will add it for you. 

Dear Bishop Christopher 

We, the undersigned worshippers at the Church of the Ascension, write in reference to the pastoral statement issued last week on civil partnerships. We are dismayed that there is no reference to love in this statement at all. The statement is harsh in both tone and content, especially to same-sex couples who are living in faithful, stable marriages and partnerships.

We are particularly dismayed by paragraph 7, where the statement reads, 

We believe that [heterosexual marriage] continues to provide the best context for the raising of children, although it is not the only context that can be of benefit to children, especially where the alternative may be long periods in institutional care.

The implication is that every parent who is not in a heterosexual marriage is second‑best, including legally married same-sex parents. Indeed, it reads as though same-sex parents and lone parents are only marginally better than local authority care. It also implies that any parent who accepts that residential care may be best in their particular circumstances is not doing their best.

There is no recognition that an abusive marriage may be unsafe or damaging for children, which is unsupportive for those leaving such marriages at a time when the church should be their rock and support.

We regard the statement as lacking pastoral sensitivity and deeply problematic for clergy and all those who are engaged in active missional work for our churches. It is difficult to respond to anyone ‘pastorally and sensitively’, as the document demands, when we see such a lack of pastoral sensitivity to so many faithful worshippers. 


Yours in Christ


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