What does the Oxford Ad Clerum mean?

Last week, the four bishops in the Diocese of Oxford circulated an Ad Clerum (‘to the clergy’) to all licensed ministers in the diocese; the text can be found on Steven Croft’s diocesan blog. There is no doubt that the letter includes comments with which everyone in the Church could and should agree. As Will Pearson-Gee, Rector of Buckingham, says in the (expanded) online edition of the Church Times report:

I welcome everything in the letter that helps our churches be more genuinely welcoming places for all people. I also welcome the way in which the bishops are careful to make the point that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity should inhibit anyone from playing a full part in the life of the church.
But I think there are some ambiguities, omissions and even contradictions in the letter which will raise some questions, and I suspect for some (within the diocese and outside it) wonder if it giving an honest view of what is really intended.

Is the Bishops’ Policy on Civil Partnerships Sustainable?

The House of Bishops’ position on civil partnerships and same-sex sexual relationships is defined by three statements. The first is Issues in Human Sexuality, published in 1991 as a ‘discussion document’. When it was published, it had very mixed reactions, and I remember very clearly our whole-college debate about it in the college chapel when I … Continue Reading

Why we should listen to Vicky Beeching

Vicky Beeching, Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole and Living Free from Shame (William Collins, 2018)  Jayne Ozanne, Just Love: A Journey of Self-Acceptance (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2018) Andrew Atherstone writes: In a remarkable symbiosis, two new autobiographies have hit the shelves from two of the Church of England’s most prominent LGBT campaigners, published within a … Continue Reading

Theological Reflection on Male-Female Complementarity

At the recent Festival of Theology, we heard eight fascinating presentations on a range of subjects. I have previously posted John Allister on drawing on secular insights in ministry, and Alistair Roberts on virtue ethics in an age of social media. This is a revised version of David Shepherd’s presentation on theological perspectives on male-female … Continue Reading

Do we have a better story about sexuality and faith?

Are you confident about orthodox Christian teaching about sex, sexuality and marriage? Are you happy talking about it, and find it easy to communicate it persuasively in our contemporary culture with its approach to gender identity? Do you understand how Western culture reached its current position, and see both the positives and the problems in … Continue Reading

The church changed its mind on slavery. Why not on sex?

Will Jones writes: It rarely takes long in any discussion about a controversial ethical issue amongst Christians for someone to bring up slavery. Slavery is the great exemple of how Christian thinking has changed on a key ethical issue. Christians in the past permitted slavery, practised slavery, defended slavery. Scripture clearly permits slavery in certain circumstances, … Continue Reading