The appointment of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury was announced at Lambeth Palace of the Right Reverend Justin Welby, today.

Coalition welcomes appointment of Justin Welby as archbishop

The Coalition welcomes the appointment of Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. In his press conference last Friday he said this about sexuality:

“We also face deep differences over the issue of sexuality. It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people co-habiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships. We must have no truck with any form of homophobia, in any part of the church. The Church of England is part of the worldwide church, with all the responsibilities that come from those links. What the church does here deeply affects the already greatly suffering churches in places like northern Nigeria, which I know well. I support the House of Bishops’ statement in the summer in answer to the government’s consultation on same sex marriage. I know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities, and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully. I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed honestly and in love.”

We are grateful for Bishop Justin’s openness. We appreciate his commitment to engage in listening to LGB&T communities and to challenge homophobia throughout the church. We look forward to dialogue with him as he seeks the way forward for mission and ministry in the Church of England.

Press Release [PDF].

Should equal marriage be rejected…? (paper)

Should equal marriage be rejected or celebrated by Christians?, Savitri Hensman

The possibility of opening up marriage in Britain by law to same-sex couples has been criticised by some Christians but welcomed by others. One of the more thoughtful critics is theologian John Milbank, who has eloquently expressed some common arguments against change. This response by Savi Hensman suggests that, while he raises important issues, his analysis is ultimately flawed. Taking into account such topics as tradition, sexual ‘complementarity’, childbearing and sacrament, there is a strong case for equal marriage.

Full Paper [PDF].

Journey towards acceptance (paper)

Journey towards acceptance: theologians and same-sex love, Savitri Hensman

In this paper, Savi Hensman gives a detailed overview of some of the most significant affirmative theological work on same-sex love and the Christian tradition. She demonstrates the unhelpful and simplistic positing of a straightforward ‘conservative versus liberal’ divide on these issues, and draws on Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, Quaker and Anabaptist/Mennonite thinkers.

Full paper [PDF].