Living in Love and Faith

Living in Love and Faith

Living in Love and Faith is a learning and listening process taking place across The Church of England to help individuals, parishes, deaneries and dioceses, reflect on our shared humanity and sexual identity.

The product of three years’ work by more than 40 people, led by the Bishop of Coventry, Living in Love and Faith includes a 480-page book, a series of films and podcasts, a course and an online library of other publications, in what is thought to be the most extensive work in this area by any faith group in the world.

The materials follow an appeal by the House of Bishops to the whole Church of England to participate in learning together, using the resources for open, honest and gracious discussion, listening and learning.

Living and Love and faith in our Diocese

This period of church-wide learning and engagement has been taking place throughout 2021 and will continue on until April 2022. Our bishops have encouraged the listening and conversations in our Diocese to be ones of grace and compassion:

"These issues go to the heart of what it means to be human, and especially touches upon the lives of people who feel marginalised by the Church.

So, we should debate with compassion and sensitivity, seeking prayerful wisdom from God and aiming at all times to show the fruit of the Spirit as St Paul describes it in Galatians 6; that is, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  Bishop James and Bishop Simon

Throughout this time, many conversations have been happening at an individual, parish and deanery level. An online Diocesan Taster Day has taken place, and over 220 people within the Diocese have registered with the Living in Love and Faith Resource Hub.

Jayne Shillito a curate in the North West Kent Group of Churches, is one of those who has engaged with the Living in Love and Faith process.  In this short film, along with others from across the Church of England, she shares her experience of doing the course:


A consultative group representing different aspects of Diocesan life and experiences has been set up to support engagement with the Living in Love and Faith resources. 
 

Meet the consultative group
  • Dr Mike Lawes - Deanery Lay Chair, Tunbridge Wells Deanery
     
  • Mrs Cheryl Trice - Diocesan Team Lead Adviser for the Children and Young People’s Mission and Ministry Team
     
  • Mrs Jennifer Ross - Communications Manager for the Diocese of Rochester
     
  • Father Clive Jones - Vicar of St Augustine, Belvedere
     
  • The Rev Canon Ren Harding
    Ren has worked in the Diocese throughout her ordained ministry, serving as a parish priest, a Spiritual Director, and for a number of years, as the Chaplain of the Diocesan Mothers’ Union.  She is currently Team Rector of the Bexley Team Ministry, a team of four parishes on the London/Kent borders, and she has recently been installed as an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral.

    She says: "To me, if the Church is to be truly ‘inclusive’, there needs to be a measure of charitable recognition of those whose opinions differ from our own. Like many of you, I have been saddened to see how the varying interpretations of what it might mean to follow Christ’s teachings have led Christians to act in ways that fall short of Jesus command to love. Every individual brings a different perspective, and my prayer is that we will recognise that individuality as a blessing to be celebrated.  Having said that, it is good to recognise that opinions are strongly felt, and I would commend to you the material of the Pastoral Principles, which will enable us to learn how to disagree with grace."
     
  • The Rev Nick Cornell - Rector Christ Church, Southborough
     
  • The Rev Canon Victoria Pask
    Victoria is on the Steering Group in her capacity as an Area Dean (Bromley). She brings experience of working with churches across a range of traditions, supporting parishes in their responsibility for the cure of souls and in mutual respect. Victoria comes from a background of teaching and chaplaincy in secondary education. She is currently Vicar of St Mark’s Church, Bromley and a Canon Emeritus of Exeter Cathedral.
     
  • The Reverend Jane Winter - Living in Love and Faith Diocesan Advocate
    Jane is the Assistant Director of formation and ministry with a particular responsibility for short courses and lay formation. She established ‘Addressing Bias’ sessions (formally Unconscious Bias) which help people recognise their own biases  and hold those in the context of a church which welcomes everyone. Jane says: ‘I was honoured when Bishop James invited me to be the diocesan advocate.

    I am passionate about the church being a safe place for all people. God loves us all and creates us in our rich diversity. Cultural understandings of gender, sex, sexuality and relationships are developing all the time. We don’t all agree how the church should respond, but we can all celebrate God’s incredible generosity of love and relationship which we see through the lives of those who seek to live in love and faith.
     
  • The Reverend Joel Love  -  Vicar of St Peter and St Margaret's, Rochester and Diocesan Living in Love and Faith chaplain.

 

Living in Love and Faith Advocate and Chaplain

Two key roles have been developed within the Diocese to help support the process:

  • Living in Love and Faith Diocesan Advocate - The Reverend Jane Winter  is LLF Diocesan Advocate - this is a requirement in each diocese and is an advocate for the process itself, and not any particular outcome. Jane is able to point people to resources and assist with learning events, including supporting parishes engaging with the LLF course. 

    She is our link person with the national Next Steps group which has the task of ensuring that the church-wide process of learning and discernment will be gathered, listened to and reflected on by the bishops together with members of General Synod as they discern the way forward for the Church of England in a process that will be concluded in 2022.
     
  • Living in Love and Faith Chaplain - As chaplain, The Rev Joel Love is available to support any who might be grateful for pastoral support at any stage during the process. He can be contacted on email at: llf.chaplain@rochester.anglican.org

Watch this short film in which Joel explains his role:

 

Other groups and resources

All the key resources for the course can be found on the Living in Love and Faith Learning Hub. You will need to register to access it. Once there, some of the key resources you will find include:

  • Resources for Leading a course with young people
  • Creative Responses Gallery
  • LLF course video stories


Groups
There are also other groups within but independent of the Diocese, who are also supporting dialogue and engagement with the resources. They are organising additional events and opportunities to which all are invited to attend.

Additional books

  • 'Living in love and faith - a concise introduction and review.' by Dr Martin Davie. A theological consultant to the Church of England Evangelical Council and lay member of the Diocese of Rochester. A concise introduction to the Living in Love and Faith resources offering a critical assessment of them from an Evangelical viewpoint. This can be obtained from Latimer Trust at https://www.latimertrust.org.
  • 'Living in Love and Faith - a biblical response.' An in-depth response to the Living in Love and Faith resources designed for clergy and others who want to think more deeply about them. Published by Dictum Press on 6 April with a foreword by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. More details can be found at https://dictumpress.com/living-in-love-and-faith.

 

Next steps

Anyone who has taken part in the course is encouraged to offer their response to the process via the Living in Love and Faith learning hub. Responses need to submitted by April 2022.

Following this, a group of bishops, chaired by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, and called the Next Steps Group, will then lead the process of discernment and decision-making about a way forward for the church in relation to human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

 


Key Contacts

The Rev Jane Winter

Living in Love and Faith Diocesan Advocate

Get in touch

 
The Rev Joel Love

Living in Love and Faith Chaplain

Get in touch