The resources are designed to help the Church to learn how questions about human identity, relationships, marriage and sexuality fit within the bigger picture of what it means to embody a Christian vision of living holy lives in love and faith in our culture.
There is a range of resources in a variety of formats and the project aims to make sure these are accessible, helpful and attractive to a wide range of people.
The focus is on discernment and the commitment to keep the church together and walk together. This is a collaborative project with the aim of starting a period of reflection and discernment at all levels, including at parish level. Living in Love and Faith itself is not about coming to a decision relating to sexuality or identity, it’s about enabling a dynamic process.
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich explains:
“The Living in Love and Faith resources – the book, small group course, videos, podcasts and library – are about matters of identity, sexuality and marriage. These aspects of our lives go to the heart of the wellbeing of individuals and communities. This piece of work is offered by the House of Bishops to foster hope-filled conversations within the Church to discern the calling of the Holy Spirit. The bishops are not of one mind about these matters and, as such, represent something of the diversity of opinion in our congregations. However, we are of one mind about needing to be a people who embody the reconciliation and hope of Christ as we explore these matters.
“There will be quick headlines about these resources. Pressure groups from all sides will say they are biased one way or another. Both will miss the point. The resources are designed to create space to model a different way and not the usual cynicism, division and polarization. They help us go deeper into scripture, to seek wisdom and understanding, and to prayerfully discuss these matters. They help us to enter into gracious engagement and to listen to the stories of other Christians, their understanding of scripture, and how they live this out in their lives in love and faith.
“The new ‘Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together’ are also an important new resource. They challenge the six sins of Prejudice, Silence, Ignorance, Fear, Hypocrisy, and the Abuse of Power, each of which deserves serious personal reflection, self-examination, and repentance.
“I am conscious that there is much that is occupying us at present, not least the daily challenge of coronavirus, but my hope is that we will use these resources wisely and carefully ‘so that with the eyes of your heart enlightened you may know what is the hope to which he has called you’ (Ephesians 1.18). My prayer is that they will help to dial down the rhetoric and for us to see the face of Christ in the other. Might they just lead to more generosity and grace in our living. Perhaps that is what the world needs most from us at present as we witness to that exhortation to some of the first Christian disciples: ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near’ (Philippians 4:5).”
The full set of resources can be accessed by setting up a user account on the LLF Learning Hub.