We were pleasantly surprised when this announcement appeared on the Diocese of Liverpool website:
Statement on the LGBTI Mission
Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, responds to new campaign group ‘working towards acceptance and affirmation of LGBTI people within the Church of England.’
“We are in the middle of a conversation in the Church of England about the best way to express the freely-given grace and love of God to all, and in particular at this time to discern what that means for members of the LGBTI community, including those who wish to express their own love in marriage, as it is their perfect legal right in England to do.
This is an important conversation and one that arouses passion, pain, sensitivity and hurt. I am very grateful for the contribution of the LGBTI Mission document to this conversation.
The document speaks strongly and clearly and I believe we all need to hear its voice. There is nothing to fear in doing so. Over and over again the Church has insisted on the need to listen to the experiences of the LGBTI community. For myself I have sought to do so for at least the last thirty years, and I believe that have learned a great deal about God’s love, patience and grace as I have listened to LGBTI people inside and outside the Church. Theirs is a strong and necessary voice, though of course it is not the only voice.
Within the Church at the moment we are engaged in listening to all voices through our Shared Conversations. I am glad to be taking part in these conversations. I remain committed to the process of listening that the Conversations are holding, and of course this process has not yet ended. In July the General Synod in its turn will engage in these conversations and I look forward to being part of that.
In all this I am seeking to listen most of all to the voice of the Spirit, expressed through Scripture and through the many and diverse voices of the Church. I remain convinced that this process of patient listening, slow and frustrating as it may seem to some, is the best way to discern the will of God for us all.”