Lambeth 1.10 hitlist condemned

The LGBTI Mission condemns the latest attempt by conservative evangelicals to bully the House of Bishops of the Church of England, who resume their consideration of sexuality matters next week.

On Sunday, GAFCON UK issued  a hitlist, containing some names of people who have, according to them, “violated” the terms of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 -Human Sexuality –  by various forms of action which express support for same-sex relationships.

Despite GAFCON UK denials, publishing this hitlist is an open invitation for people to harass those named in it. The statement appears however to be having the opposite effect, in that those named have expressed delight at their inclusion, and many people have complained that they were not included, with comments on Twitter such as this:

Being honest? Wanting an inclusive church that welcomes all made in God’s image? Praying for change? Better name and shame me too then!!

We are confident that the bishops will recognise this bullying tactic for what it is, and we assure them of our prayers as they work to lead the church into a place where we can live with diversity and with integrity.

Simon Sarmiento, Chair.




Changing Attitude and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement on the Bishops’ Reflection Group on Human Sexuality

Welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

James 1.21-25

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.  Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership – that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard.  We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.

The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future.   In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations.  We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God’s people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.

Our prayer is that, strengthened by the Spirit, the members of the group will be enabled to listen, reflect and discern, and that as they undertake their work they will be granted moral courage and prophetic vision.  For we are all alike called to be not only hearers of the Word, but doers too;  our actions must match our words in seeking God’s justice, compassion and truth.

We continue to look forward to a future where LGBT people are no longer seen as a problem to be solved, but as gifted members of the Body of Christ, equal partners in prayer, service and mission.  Anything less than that falls short of the Good News  that God’s abundant love is for all humankind and that although LGBT people may struggle to find their place inside the church at the moment, God will travel with them when they choose the path of life, wherever that takes them.

Married clergy and laity write to Bishops

To All Members of the House of Bishops

September 2016

Dear Bishops

We are writing to you as married lesbian and gay members of the Church of England. Some of us are clergy; some of us are members of the laity. We are just a few of the many gay and lesbian people in this country who have in the past two years been able to celebrate with families, friends, and in our cases often our local Church community, the enriching and life enhancing love we have found in our wives and husbands.

We would like you to know that we will be praying for you as you meet in September as a College of Bishops.

Now that the Shared Conversations are at an end it is time for the Church of England to move forward and make clear the commitment to ‘good disagreement’ that was at their heart. We fully appreciate that the time may not yet be right for a change in the Church’s official understanding of marriage. But many in our parishes have already made that move and it is time to respect that a diversity of theology within the Church now exists and that there is more than one understanding of what a faithful Christian may believe on these issues.

As you meet to discuss we seek from you a clear lead that offers a way forward to greater inclusion that will enable those parishes that wish to do so to celebrate the love that we have found in our wives and husbands. We hope for an outcome that will enable those who wish to do so to publicly celebrate where we see God at work in the lives of our congregations without fear and in openness.

We encourage you to be bold, and to be honest about what many of you already believe from your own experience, and to what you know to be increasingly the direction of travel, not just in our Church but in many Churches in this country.

We will always want to see the full inclusion of LGBTI people in the Church, and we will continue to work towards it. We look forward to welcoming a first step in that process and a move away from the harm and hurt that has so often been done in the name of the Church.

Yours in Christ


  1. The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain and Stephen Foreshew-Cain
  2. The Revd Richard Harris and Ricardo Goncalves.
  3. The Revd Garry Lawson and Timothy H. Wane
  4. The Revd Clive Larson and John Markham
  5. The Revd Paul Collier and Mr Collier
  6. The Revd Canon Jeremy Davis and Simon McEnery
  7. The Revd Geoffrey Thompson and Tony Steeles
  8. The Revd Prof Mark Cobb and Keith Arrowsmith


9. Jeremy Timm & Mike Brown
10. Ruth Wilde & Ellie Wilde
11. Jack Semple and Ross Griffiths
12. Paul Jellings and Andrew Carter
13. Erica Baker and Susan Strong
14. Karen and Samantha Bregazzi-Jones
15. Keith Barber and Tim Mills
16. Simon Dawson and David Mooney

In addition a further seven clergy couples and Readers have indicated their support for this letter whilst wishing to remain anonymous in order to protect themselves, and often their Bishops, from attack.



LGBTI Mission: Statement about the Bishop of Grantham


The LGBTI Mission welcomes the openness that Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain has shown in revealing personal information about himself, while we deplore the media threat which has led to the need for this to happen. We assure him of our love and prayers , extending to his partner, his colleagues, and his wider family.

We are pleased that the forthcoming College of Bishops meeting will now have at least one openly LGBTI voice in their discussion of what next steps the Church of England should take in regard to same-sex relationships. We hope this will lead to increased openness among bishops so that burden does not long remain on the Bishop of Grantham alone.

The Guardian reports that Bishop Nicholas himself has said:

“I will speak [at the meeting], and this part of me will be known. I hope I’ll be able to be a standard-bearer for all people as a gay man. And I really hope that I’ll be able to help us move on beyond matters of sexuality,”

And, asked whether other bishops might follow his lead in openly declaring their sexuality, he said: “I really can only speak for myself. If I’m an encouragement to others, that would be great.”

We are also pleased that both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Lincoln have expressed their unequivocal support for him, and confirmed that they made his appointment with full knowledge of his circumstances. But we regret that when announcing senior appointments the Church still adheres to a discriminatory policy of purposeful concealment. It is this policy which has lead directly to the discomfort which Bishop Nicholas is now experiencing.

The need to review the absurd and cruel double standard still applied in relation to sexual conduct of the clergy remains an urgent task for the Church.


LGCM comments on Bishop of Grantham

The LGBTI Mission will publish its own statement shortly, but meanwhile Tracey Byrne of LGCM wrote this last night:

In an interview with the Guardian which you can read here, Nick Chamberlain, the Bishop of Grantham, has spoken of his long term, committed, celibate gay relationship, which was known to those who appointed him as a suffragan bishop in Lincoln diocese last year.  He says that he has made the announcement because another newspaper was planning to publish the news anyway on Sunday.  He becomes the first bishop in the Church of England to be openly in a gay relationship.

First and foremost in our thoughts are Bishop Nick, his partner, friends, colleagues and those close to him.  He will need our love and prayers right now, and he should be assured of them.  Few of us can anticipate what challenges will face him over the coming weeks, and the past few days must have been almost unbearably difficult.  It is to be hoped that the short term media circus and blogosphere frenzy give way to a greater peace in time, permitting a good and highly-regarded man to continue to exercise the ministry to which he has been called – perhaps with a renewed sense of freedom to be fully himself.

Whilst the debates will no doubt continue about the rights and wrongs of ‘outing’ – as some will see this – it is important to acknowledge that others bear some responsibility for the pressures which have led to today’s news.  It should be noted that Bishop Nick is not in a civil partnership, and so it is perhaps unwise to draw a direct parallel with a married opposite-sex couple.  However, his relationship is clearly an important and significant one, in which he has flourished and within the context of which he has been supported in his ministry as a fine priest and pastor, and now bishop.

Those who made the appointment were aware of Bishop Nick’s relationship and were satisfied that he is living within the discipline of the church.  Whilst that space for accommodating priests in celibate gay relationships is an unsatisfactory one for many of us, and a costly one for those who have made that choice, it is nevertheless a valid choice to make, both for the individual concerned, and for those making the appointment.  It is a choice which should be respected, and those relationships and individuals should be honoured.

It is regrettable that Bishop Nick’s relationship, about which he speaks in such touching terms in the interview, was not acknowledged at the time of his appointment.  We need to see LGBT people in leadership roles in the church, and LGBT people can only flourish when they are able to be fully and openly themselves.  We would not dream of expecting a straight person to keep a long-term relationship ‘private’ – indeed, details of the marital status, hobbies and offspring of appointees to senior posts have become a staple of Downing Street press releases.  One can only imagine the pressure under which Bishop Nick and his partner – and for all we know, others – have been placed by this ongoing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach.  That pressure is now, for Bishop Nick at least, released.  It is to be hoped that those who bear some responsibility for what he has endured, and for what lies ahead, will be faithful and steadfast in their love and support for him.

Today marks a new beginning for the Church of England as it continues to wrestle with the issue of human sexuality – or as we prefer to call it, real life.  It’s a small step – albeit one at significant cost to the individuals involved – towards a more grown-up and honest understanding, and away from secrecy and invisibility.  For that, Bishop Nick is to be thanked for his courage, dignity and grace.

So tonight, please pray…

…for Bishop Nick and those he loves, for the people of Lincoln diocese, those with whom and amongst whom he leads and serves…

…for those who have an opportunity, now, to stand alongside him…

….for those holding secrets and those trying to let them go…

…for others who may be feeling fearful of their ‘secrets’, especially the young and those whose safety is at risk…

…for Jeffrey John and for Gene Robinson, who have trodden some parts of this path before…

…for all those shining light into places of secrecy, that they might be granted wisdom and compassion…

…for the presence of the Spirit within and between and amongst us, leading us into all truth, and to the truth that sets us free.

LGBTI Mission calls on Church of England to move forward following completion of Shared Conversations


The LGBTI Mission rejoices that almost all General Synod members were willing and able to engage in conversation and listening about human sexuality. We commend David Porter and his team for their excellent work in bringing this about. It is also clear that very many throughout the Church of England want to see change soon, as a priority for mission.

We call on the House of Bishops to bring forward bold proposals that enable the Church of England to move towards LGBTI equality, of course with proper safeguards for those who cannot, in conscience, accept any such changes.

Same-sex marriage is only one item on the table. There are other important issues, which could be resolved sooner and more easily. Some do not need synodical approval. We urge the bishops to review urgently all the areas listed in our LGBTI Mission launch document.

We also ask bishops to consult fully with their own LGBTI laity and clergy who are directly and personally affected by current discriminatory policies.

Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission said: “Now is the time to move forward and take action. Church leaders and LGBTI church members, of all convictions, need to work together to devise answers to these problems. We now have an opportunity to change the way that LGBTI people are treated in the Church. A good start would be to have a staff member funded to co-ordinate work in this area and show that the national Church is serious about change.”

Two specific examples of other urgent issues are:

  • There is a Blackburn Diocesan Synod Motion awaiting General Synod debate, which asks the Church to improve its welcome to Transgender people and for the House of Bishops to recommend suitable rites and prayers to mark their transition journeys. Debate on this was recently deferred a second time. We urge the bishops to endorse that motion and to ensure it is debated without further delay.
  • An issue not requiring synodical action is the current ban on clergy entering same-sex civil marriage, contained in paragraph 27 of the House’s February 2014 Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The widely inconsistent application of this has brought the Church into serious disrepute. It must be reconsidered urgently.

Media reports suggest the bishops may revive the 2013 Pilling Report recommendation to allow clergy who wish to do so to “mark the formation of a permanent same-sex relationship in a public service” but only as a “pastoral accommodation” without authorizing any formal liturgy. This would be welcome as an interim step towards the long-term goal of enabling same-sex marriages in the Church of England. But the addition of approved liturgical forms would improve clarity and give clergy protection against unwanted disciplinary complaints.



For further information contact Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission
07906 445695

More detail on the LGBTI Mission campaign group is available at

The full LGBTI Mission programme Loving, Living, Serving, can be downloaded directly from

The Blackburn Diocesan Synod motion is as follows:


…to move on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod:

‘That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.’

The February 2014 Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage is available at

The Pilling Report is available at
(see Recommendations 16 and 17 on page 118)


Christians called to accept same-sex relationships

LGBTI Mission, the recently formed Church of England campaign organisation, welcomes a new book, Amazing Love, published by Darton, Longman and Todd. This is the first fruit of the programme we launched in February.  A working group met in Cambridge last January to plan this book, which has been edited by Dr Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

The book shows that there is a clear theological rationale for Christians to accept committed same-sex relationships. It is aimed at readers who may not have any formal theological training.

It does not take a specific view about how the Church should respond to same-sex marriage and thus it is hoped it will win over many of those who are not already irrevocably opposed to same-sex relationships.

Publication is timed to make the book available for the forthcoming sexuality conversations being held at the Church of England’s General Synod in York (10 to 12 July) but it should interest Christians of all denominations in Britain, and is ideal for use in discussion groups by local churches.

Copies are being sent this week to all members of the General Synod, thanks to grants made by three of LBGTI Mission’s partners: Changing Attitude, Inclusive Church, and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.

The formal launch of the book will be at a reception in the State Rooms of the Speaker’s House at the Palace of Westminster on 29 June.

Simon Sarmiento, Chair of the LGBTI Mission said:  “Recent events highlight the timeliness of this book.  Christians need to consider urgently whether the traditional conservative attitude towards same-sex relationships is still a sustainable view in today’s world. This book shows that it is possible to disagree.”


For more detailed information about the book, see the Darton, Longman and Todd website at

For more information about the LGBTI Mission, see its website

The Church and the massacre in Orlando

The following letter, signed by three members of the LGBTI Mission steering group, appeared in the Church Times on Friday 17 June.

From Ms Tracey Byrne, Mr Simon Sarmiento, and Mr Jeremy Timm
Sir, — The events in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning have once more left the world shocked and appalled. But the Church of England’s official responses have disappointed and dismayed many, both inside and outside the Church.

This was an attack that deliberately targeted gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. And it took place in a country whose Anglicans have recently been criticised by the Primates of the Communion for moving towards greater inclusion for LGBT people. Church leaders can no longer continue to denounce violence — and yet continue to feed it.

Every time we speak — individually or institutionally — of LGBT people as “less than” their brothers and sisters in Christ, as “less than” God’s ideal, as unfit for licensing for public ministry; every time we fail to acknowledge that the people who died in Orlando were targeted because of whom they love, we contribute, in imperceptible but, nevertheless, powerful ways, to creating the kind of world where this hatred can flourish. We do LGBT people a grave disservice, and we do the gospel a grave disservice, too.

We have worked hard to keep faith with the soon-to-be-completed Shared Conversations, but we now need something more substantial. There is an urgent need to restore the trust that has been eroded during the Shared Conversations process, and to establish a permanent mechanism that enables church leaders and central church bodies to listen and to work together with LGBT church members of all convictions. That way we can bring our insights to the Church as it seeks transformation and reconciliation and healing, and we will become part of the solution rather than the unsolved problem.

With such an arrangement in place, and with robust and trusting personal relationships, perhaps we would not have seen an official “Prayer for Orlando” which whitewashed over the victims, failing even to mention that they were killed for being LGBT, nor a day’s delay in issuing a response from the Archbishops which corrected this omission.

There can be no misunderstanding that this is the context in which the final round of Shared Conversations will take place in a few weeks’ time; the stakes, for everyone, could not possibly be higher.

Chief Executive, Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement

Chair, LGBTI Mission

National Coordinator, Changing Attitude

c/o LGCM, South Church House
25 Market Place
Newark NG25 1EA

Church in Wales apologises and publishes prayers

LGBTI Mission has noted the pastoral letter and the authorised prayers published by the bishops of the Church in Wales, which are linked from this press release:
Same-sex marriage statement

The texts are also available here.

While we realise this has caused disappointment to many in Wales who hoped for more, we see it as a hopeful sign for the Church of England that the Welsh bishops have written directly to LGBT Christians to apologise to them. We also think that the prayers which have been authorised, imperfect though they may be, constitute a positive development.

We hope our leaders in the Church of England will take careful note of what the Welsh bishops have done, and regard this as an encouragement to take similar steps forward, following the completion of the Shared Conversations programme in July.


Liverpool diocese notes our launch

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.”

 Thank you, Bishop Paul Bayes!