Living in Love and Faith
Along with the rest of the Church of England, the Diocese of Portsmouth is currently looking at issues relating to gender, marriage, sexuality and relationships under the heading 'Living in Love and Faith'. (LLF)
These issues are intrinsic to people's experience and sense of identity, as well as the relationships that help to sustain them. But, as a Church, we don't always agree on such issues. The national Church has recommended a series of resources that will help all of us to discuss these issues openly and honestly over the next few months. There's a library of online resources, a book, a series of videos - and a multi-session course that helps those in parishes, deaneries and dioceses to grapple with the theology and ethics involved in small, supportive groups.
The purpose of the resources is to enable the Church of England churches across the country to participate in a process of learning and praying together, as part of discerning a way forward in relation to matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. This phase of listening to the whole Church has recently been extended from January 2022 to April 2022.
Each diocese also has a Living in Love and Faith advocate, and ours is Canon Kathryn Percival from Portsmouth Cathedral. Here, she introduces our diocese to the LLF concept and invites you to take part in the ongoing dialogue:
You can make use of the national C of E resources at any time, to study these issues for yourselves. The main introduction to the Living and Love and Faith resources is here, and you can also link directly to:
- the Living in Love and Faith Learning Hub (which includes the five-session video-based course, podcasts, films, and a large online library of resources about the themes of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage);
- a chance to order or download a copy of the Living in Love and Faith book;
- some information about the purpose of providing these LLF resources;
- a chance to meet some of the LLF team who helped to put these resources together, and to contact them directly;
- an idea of the next steps that will be taken, a church communities engage with the resources and then what happens after that.
Do also watch this video, which is the national C of E's introductory video to Living in Love and Faith:
We hope that parishes will engage with these issues with their own LLF courses. We also hope to provide some LLF courses, to be run by deaneries, bringing those from different churches together to discuss these issues, hopefully in autumn 2021. Details of those diocesan courses will be available here.
Diocesan steering group
Each diocese has its own LLF advocate, who can help your church to provide an LLF course, or to explore these issues in some other way. Ours is Canon Kathryn Percival (pictured), from Portsmouth Cathedral, and you can contact her here. Pastoral support is also available for those for whom these issues may involve opening up past hurts or exploring areas of personal sensitivity.
Kathryn has also drawn together a steering group, which includes those from different traditions and experiences across the diocese. They have already participated in an LLF course together, and will facilitate or help to train facilitators for LLF courses across the diocese.