The Church of Ireland’s Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief was formed to enable the process of listening, dialogue and learning on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief to continue. They have just published two documents, The Guide to the Conversation and the Executive Summary.
These are well worth the time to review and offer a guide for Anglican Churches everywhere to take concrete steps to incarnate the Primates communique’s promise to condemn homophobic prejudice and violence and resolve to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ.
From the Executive Summary’s report of the listening process:
Select Committee met with all who requested an interview, as part of a process of listening to with experience of living with same-sex attraction, either personally or closely connected with those who would be so identified. This was a creative and deeply moving process or engagement that left no one unaffected, even those who did not take part in the actual interviews, but, as members of the Select Committee, had access to the type-scripts afterwards.Witness from parents with children searching for their true sexual identity was particularly powerful, indeed, almost overwhelming.
Whilst common themes emerged from the meetings, there were some sharply defined differences too as to the experience of gay Christians in their local church. Some, on moving parish, found that their treatment changed for better or worse, often according to the stance of the rector. Most referred to their expectation that, as gay men or women, they would be treated by the Church as they felt accepted under Christ, as one made in the image of God.