For immediate use: press release in response to the report from the House of Bishops’ working group on human sexuality (the Pilling Report)
The Coalition welcomes the publication of the Pilling Report and we appreciate that it was made public so soon.
It is good that the report recognises the diversity of theological views on this issue, including within the Evangelical wing of the Church. We are glad that the report denounces homophobia (though it is not clearly enough defined). We believe that it makes it easier for clergy to bless partnerships publicly and it calls for further discussion to try to discern where the Spirit is leading the church.
It is also good that LGB&T clergy will not face intrusive questioning though they are still asked to promise to abide by a code which would exclude most from the kind of loving and supportive relationship which others can enjoy.
We are disappointed that the Report has only mentioned rather than included transgender people in the discussion, despite submissions from transgender and LGB&T Christian organisations.
We are also disappointed that no liturgy of thanksgiving or blessing is proposed, but overall we are thankful for the working party’s effort. We trust and hope that the report may move the Church of England forward.
The Coalition and its member organisations stand ready to support the proposed facilitated conversations both in dioceses and nationally. We look forward to being fully included in all steps to help the Church of England find a way forward and we value the Pilling report as a useful contribution to the coming debate
We are also convinced that there must be a greater openness to, and a wider understanding, of the extensive range of scientific and theological work that has been, and is currently being undertaken on transgender issues and same-sex issues in addition to those relied upon within the report. We believe that what is presented there is insufficient to provide a strong and reliable foundation for the proposed conversations and we trust that these issues will be further addressed in the coming debate.