In the excitement over same-gender dancing in Strictly this year, you may have missed the news that The Methodist Church became the largest religious denomination in Britain to permit same-sex marriages.

A vote to change the definition of marriage at the Methodist Conference in June was overwhelmingly passed with 254 in favour and 46 against. Freedom of conscience clauses mean that ministers will not be forced to conduct such weddings if they oppose the change.

Not surprisingly, The Church of England has struggled to come to a common mind on this issue. If we are honest, we know we will not be able to do that. So rather than simply follow the Anglican church in the USA into a damaging split, General Synod is aiming to find another way. The Archbishops are first of all commending Living in Love and Faith. (LLF)

LLF is about encouraging the whole church to think more deeply about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. Many churches are reluctant to address these topics. We hope St John’s will not be one of them.

What is the outcome of the meetings meant to be?

The conversations have no underlying agenda and they are not designed to persuade or change people’s minds. The hope is that they may result in a deeper understanding and mutual respect that will reflect the love of God in Christ. We are not there to persuade other people of our view, but to listen to them on the understanding that they will listen to us.

Where have we got to?

The Diocese has trained 20 facilitators and 17 chaplains and is keen to train more. We would love to recruit more facilitators locally. Online training is available on the following dates. You have only got to attend one of the dates below.

  • 7th September
  • 8th September
  • 15th September
  • 21st September
  • 22nd September