New books say that taking a hard line on sexuality will damage mission

WARNINGS that it has become “impossible” to oppose faithful gay relationships without being regarded as an extremist, and that an entire generation is being “lost to faith in Christ” are included in a new book published in the run-up to the Shared Conversations on sexuality taking place at the General Synod in York.

Amazing Love: Theology for understanding discipleship, sexuality and mission, edited by Canon Andrew Davison, the Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, was published last week by DLT.

In the same week, senior Evangelical clergy shared their positions on theology and sexuality in a new book edited by Jayne Ozanne, a member of the General Synod. Among them is the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, who writes about being “profoundly changed” by his interaction with the LGBTI community, and his desire to “make room and to extend the table”.

Both books are being sent, free, to members of the General Synod, who are preparing to participate in the Shared Conversations next month (News, 17 June).

Journeys in grace and truth: Revisiting scripture and sexuality, published by Ekklesia on behalf of Via Media Publications, features ten essays by Evangelicals. Many call for a shift in the current debate within Evangelical circles, and an end to the dismissal of those who have reached a different conclusion on sexuality.

Source: Church Times

CoE Cathedral Flying Rainbow Flag!

There is a rainbow flag flying at Portsmouth Cathedral

There is a rainbow flag flying at Portsmouth Cathedral.  On Friday, this will be replaced by an even bigger rainbow flag.  We had planned to fly one over the weekend in support of Portsmouth Pride happening on Saturday, but, along with many other churches and buildings around the country, we decided to fly one this week to remember those killed, injured or effected by the horrendous attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando this week.  We are praying for those who have been killed or injured and for all those who love them.  We are praying for those around the world who have been effected by this extreme act.  We are praying for those LGBT+ people around the world who are subjected to abuse, discrimination and persecution because of their sexuality.

Portsmouth Cathedral will continue to mourn with, stand alongside, support and welcome the LGBT+ community. We rejoice that God has made us who we are and that includes our sexuality, whether gay or straight and when you come here you do not need to pretend to be someone else.  You and your partner / boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife are welcome here – you do not have to hide who you are.  Come and be yourself with us as we seek to love God, find out more about God and serve the world God created.  Come and offer your gifts and skills and wisdom to us.

Source: Portsmouth Cathedral

Christian Utah Republican: Ensuring LGBT rights has helped me ‘live my religion’

A Christian state lawmaker from Utah said in an interview with NPR that his faith has not been compromised by protecting LGBT rights — in fact, it has been strengthened.

“I actually believe I’m living my religion now, as I look out and try to do good to those that maybe don’t agree with me,” state Sen. Stuart Adams (R) said on Wednesday’s episode ofMorning Edition. “Like loving my neighbor or trying to be respectful of other people. I believe those are good Christian religious principles that we ought to not just talk about, that we ought to actually live and act on.”

Earlier this year, Adams and his fellow legislators approved a law expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, while also allowing exceptions for religious institutions.

“We did not deal with public accommodations. We bookended this at housing and employment,” Adams explained. “And yet, I think if you walk down the streets of most cities in Utah and ask people whether there was protections for the gay and lesbian community, they would say yes. Most people don’t differentiate between housing and employment protections and public accommodations.”

Source: Raw Story

Reformed Church faces defining moment on gay issues

At its General Synod this summer, the Reformed Church in America, a Protestant denomination of more than 200,000 members with a significant Iowa presence, has the opportunity to make constitutional changes that would fully embrace gay and lesbian people in the church. Both the RCA and its more conservative cousin, the Christian Reformed Church, are descended from Dutch immigrants who settled first in New York in the 1600s and then migrated further west. Along with many congregations in Iowa, Central College in Pella and Northwestern College in Orange City are affiliated with the denomination.

Meeting June 9-14 in Palos Heights, Ill., delegates to the RCA’s synod will consider three amendments to its constitution. One resolution defines marriage as “between a man and a woman” and the other, contradictorily, defines marriage as “between two persons.” We’ll see which, if either, can win the two-thirds majority of delegates needed to pass. A third proposed amendment requires candidates for ministry to “affirm and embody” any changes to the marriage liturgy. This summer’s synod presents a defining moment for a church that has struggled to reconcile its interpretation of scripture with the lived experience of gay and lesbian people. But because of the high voting threshold required of amendments, it’s possible that the synod will adjourn leaving the issue still unresolved.

Read more at- Des Moines Register

A Mennonite pastor is suspended and a denomination is splintered (COMMENTARY) | Religion News Service

RNS) The Virginia Mennonite Conference suspended a pastor’s ministerial credentials Wednesday (May 25) because he officiated at a same-sex wedding.

The Rev. Isaac Villegas of the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Mennonite Fellowship and my pastor, is “at variance” with the conference, which belongs to the Mennonite Church USA. The denomination, with some 100,000 members, holds that marriage is “a covenant between one man and one woman for life.”

The conference was aware of Villegas’ plan to officiate the wedding well in advance, asthe congregation has been in dialogue with it for years over the matter of fully welcoming LGBT people in the congregation.

Source: Religion News Service

5 Reasons Why More Christians Are Becoming LGBTQ Affirming

If one follows the news they’d see that many major Christian denominations are split over LGBTQ inclusion. As I have followed these developments, one observation that has stood out in my mind is that the division over LGBTQ inclusion is a recent development, historically speaking. This means one thing: the movement to include and affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in the church is growing.

I believe we are seeing the early stages of what will be, within a generation, a seismic shift in the Church toward LGBTQ inclusion and affirmation. While some would assume this is due to younger Christians (who I do believe are leading the way) a recent Pew Research Center poll showed that increasing support for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters is actually climbing across all demographics– even the older generation.

Why is this dramatic shift happening?

No, it’s not because we’re in the “great falling away” that those end-timers preach about.

There’s actually 5 really solid reasons why more Christians are becoming LGBTQ affirming, and as your Explainer-in-Chief, I’d be happy to break this down for you. Here’s what’s happening:

Read more – Benjamin Corey