The Pilling Report: A Detailed Analysis (article)

The Pilling Report: A Detailed Analysis, Christina Beardsley, for Changing Attitude (England)

The Report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality, chaired by Joseph Pilling, was published on 28 November 2013. (Report [PDF]).

This paper analyses and critiques each section of the Report in detail.

Please note that this material is offered for discussion and comment. It does not represent the current policy or the current attitude of the Coalition, or any of its constituent groups.

Article [PDF].

An Unfinished Reformation (article)

Susan Gilchrist (2013)

There were many doctrinal changes that the Church adopted in regard to the role of women, gender equality and transcendence and to gender and sexual variance during the first three centuries of its existence. This study uses the results of recent research on gender dysphoria and personality development as a tool to re-examine the historical backgrounds and the reasons for these changes.

The results of this analysis challenge many of the traditional doctrines that the Church has adopted on the role of women, gender equality and gender and sexual variance. In some Churches the social changes of the last fifty years have promoted a re-evaluation of Christian teaching, but also a retrenchment into literalism and fundamentalism in others. This analysis supports this re-evaluation and gives historical and theological support to the changes that are being made.

Please note that this material is offered for discussion and comment. It does not represent the current policy or the current attitude of the Coalition, or any of its constituent groups.

This document has been updated to include comments on the Pilling Report. (12 December 2013)

Article [PDF].

Church Views on Sexuality: The Middle Ground (paper)

Church Views on Sexuality: The Middle Ground, Savitri Hensman

It is clear that Christians hold a spectrum of views on sexuality and marriage. However, the popular idea that there are two warring blocks that may be labelled ‘traditionalists’ and ‘revisionists’ is simplistic and can be misleading as well as unhelpful. Current tensions could be reduced and reframed significantly if more church leaders acknowledged the extent of common ground in the middle of this continuum, allowed limited flexibility of practice, and enabled their communities to develop practices of discernment oriented towards the “grace and truth” (John 1.13-15) that lies at the heart of the Christian message.

In this paper, Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman identifies seven widely held positions on sexuality. She suggests that those with supposedly diametrically opposing views often have more in common than they may at first think. Equally, she argues, in Christian terms, that coexistence among those sharing a ‘middle ground’ is not about weak compromise, but instead reflects an approach both deeply rooted in Bible and tradition and open to change as a living community led by the Spirit.

Paper [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].

Faith, Gender and Me (article)

Faith, Gender and Me, Elaine Sommers

This article gives a perspective on the gender issues from a transvestite or cross dresser rather than a transsexual point of view. It is presented as an interview with a single person but it describes some general experiences. The interview in the form presented did not take place.

Transvestites and cross dressers have a gender allegiance which accords with their biological sex. There is no desire to seek gender reassignment but there is often an overwhelming need to express the senses of cross gender identity that they do possess…

Article [PDF].

The Transsexual is my Neighbour: Pastoral Guidelines…

The Transsexual is my Neighbour: Pastoral Guidelines for Christian Clergy, Pastors and Congregations, Christina Beardsley

Document [PDF].

This is also available in booklet form from The Gender Trust at PO Box 3192, Brighton, BN1 3WR. An alternative abbreviated version of the document is given in the information sheet section of the Gender Trust website at: www.gendertrust.org.uk.

The full document contains an appendix on intersex conditions: Appendix [PDF].

Transsexual people cover the whole range of sexuality. However the priority is to be oneself. Many seek gender reassignment by surgery to make the body match the sense of gender that is felt inside.