Clothe yourselves with love; joint letter from Oxford bishops affirms welcome for LGBT+ people
The bishops of the diocese of Oxford - (Bishop Steven Croft, pictured, and bishops Colin Fletcher, Andrew Proud and Alan Wilson of Dorchester, Reading and Buckingham respectively) have issued a letter to all licenced ministers in the diocese, setting out their expectations about the way in which LGBT+ people are to be treated - with inclusion and respect.
OneBodyOneFaith welcomes the lead they have taken in a diocese where the full breadth of perspectives on sexuality are represented, and in particular notes the sensitivity and humilty which characterises the language of their intervention. That it is rooted in prayer and study of the scriptures is evident, and it offers much to reflect upon; it is well worth reading in full, whether or not you live in the Oxford area. The letter can be found here.
LGBTI+ Christians have always been, and remain, actively involved as clergy and laity in all areas of church life, and at all levels. How open and authentically themselves they may be in this is the issue at stake. We are conscious as bishops of the pain felt by many LGBTI+ people and their families in the midst of these continuing debates. As a Church we have continually failed our sisters and brothers in Christ.
The letter draws on the principles laid out in a similar letter from the bishops of Lichfield diocese back in May.
The bishops also announce in the letter that they will be setting up a chaplaincy for LGBTI+ people and their families across the diocese. We very much look forward to seeing how this latest exciting development unfolds, and hope and trust that LGBTI+ people will continue to be integral to the development, delivery and dissemination of this important an innovative work.