Last updated 28th April 2021
The Church of England’s 'Living in Love and Faith' (LLF) teaching and learning resources, exploring questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, have now been published.
The national resources available include a 450-page book; a course for discussion groups; a series of films and podcasts; a course and an online library of other publications. It is thought to be the most extensive work in this area by any faith group in the world.
They were commissioned by the House of Bishops following three years’ work by an LLF Coordinating Group of more than 40 people from across the Church. Bishop Jill served as one of the seven bishops on that Group. She has contributed to the content of the book and its accompanying 30+ hours of films, podcasts and the LLF course itself.
They are intended to initiate a process of whole Church discernment, learning and engagement in 2021 within a clear timeframe. This will, in turn, contribute to the Bishops’ discernment of a way forward in relation to questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
It was good to see so many people at the LLF taster day in March, with input from Dr Eeva John, the national LLF enabling officer, and others. All of those who asked for a copies of the LLF manual should now have received it.
If you weren’t able to attend the taster day, and want to know more, you can watch Eeva’s talk here.
Now that Covid restrictions are lifting, and many people are thinking about the priorities for ministry in their local contexts, it would be a good time to have conversations in your parish, chaplaincy, or other ministerial setting, about how you can make best use of the LLF resources and course.
The online survey is now live for people to leave feedback once they have completed the LLF course. It is also possible to offer a creative response and/or tell something of your personal story here. NB you will need to make sure that you register and log in to the LLF learning hub to take part in these.
A number of people have commented on the time pressure of engaging with the process and needing to submit feedback, especially as we are all facing a period of major change as Covid restrictions are gradually lifting. We are delighted to be able to report that the feedback period has been extended to the end of January.
Do watch this space for more updates, and please get in touch if we can help in any way.
Rowena Pailing and Jon Scamman, LLF Diocesan Advocates
Our Living in Love and Faith (LLF) 'Taster Event' took place on March 20.
Introduced by Bishop Julian, it was led by our Diocesan LLF Advocates Revd Canon Dr Rowena Pailing and Revd Jon Scamman, who explained the purpose of the gathering: to outline what the LLF project is about and what kind of materials are available to assist with LLF discussions.
Those attending were strongly encouraged to engage with all the information and resources on the LLF Learning Hub.
Rowena and Jon indicated the Taster Event was about having a chance to outline how people can engage with those resources as part of the LLF process in their local context; doing so via good conversations, with an open mind and in as safe a space as possible.
(There is specific guidance available for creating safe spaces to learn together well and you can find that document here.)
More than 160 people from parishes across the Diocese were in attendance online via Zoom.
Dr Eeva John, the national church’s LLF Enabling Officer, recorded a special video for our Diocese to set the scene for the event itself and the LLF process generally.
The video featuring Eeva was followed by some reflections on the LLF process over the past three years from Rev. Canon Dr Jessica Martin, Residentiary Canon at Ely Cathedral and Rev. Canon Dr Andrew Goddard, who is Tutor in Christian Ethics at Ridley Hall and Westminster Theological Centre; both of whom have been part of the national LLF team.
A helpful representative sample of videos were also shown as part of the Taster Event to demonstrate some of the breadth of content that is available.
Later, Rowena and Jon explained their roles as Advocates in the Diocese; how they are leading LLF in this Diocese as facilitators, not campaigners on a particular view, and how they will work with an advisory group supported by local ‘LLF chaplains’.
Those chaplains will provide a pastoral response to anyone who feels they need this support as part of the LLF process. More about the chaplains and Advisory Group in future updates.
It was also emphasised our Advocates will not be producing a Diocesan report about LLF to send to the national church; but rather it will be for people to have those discussions in their own settings at parish level and feedback directly by November of this year.
There is even the facility on the national LLF website for people to submit feedback individually if they wish to, alongside all the LLF resources.
As stated in the previous update (see below) the Diocesan LLF Advocates Revd Canon Dr Rowena Pailing and Revd Jon Scamman were planning to write to all parishes and invite them to attend an LLF Taster Event on March 20.
Their invitation letter has now been sent, together with a programme for the Taster Event and the Eventbrite link for booking is now live.
If you need assistance with booking, please contact Julie Grimshaw on 07368 197069 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More about our LLF Taster Event
We can confirm there will be an LLF Taster Event for our Diocese on Saturday, March 20 online via on Zoom from 10.15am to 1.15pm to provide information and advice about engagement with the LLF resources for parishes and chaplaincies.
This will enable them to make their own contributions subsequently as part of the national process of discernment.
March 20 will include an overview of LLF; a conversation between two members of the national LLF team representing diverse viewpoints; a sample selected from the LLF course to experience together; the opportunity to begin thinking about how to engage with LLF in the local context and Q&A.
A letter will be sent very shortly to all clergy and licensed ministers by Diocesan LLF Advocates Revd Canon Dr Rowena Pailing and Revd Jon Scamman, personally inviting them to attend, alongside a lay person from each parish, chaplaincy and other ministerial setting. As always, this has also been communicated to parishes via Parish Update.
Full booking information will be given in the letter. Booking will be open until noon on March 17. We will post the letter to this page (and the Eventbrite link as well) as soon as it's available.
In a further letter to parishes (also reflected in Parish Update on February 10, 2021) Bishop Julian updated everyone on progress regarding LLF.
Bishop Julian said: "A suite of resources was launched in November 2020 for LLF including a book, a course, podcasts and films; all designed to help the Church of England discern what God is saying on the issues of identity, relationships and marriage.
"That process has now been devolved down to dioceses and we are expected to conclude our engagement with the resources by November 2021. I am very grateful that the Revd Canon Rowena Pailing and the Revd Jon Scamman have agreed from their different perspectives to head up this diocesan project.
"We are inviting some to be part of a diverse group to support and guide them and the diocese in that work.
"Following a short one hour Diocesan Synod on March 20 (9-10am), there will be an 'LLF Taster Day' from 10.15am to 1.15pm for anyone in the diocese who wishes to attend.
"It will have to be by Zoom and I anticipate a large number who will want to gather, to hear an introduction from Eeva John, one of the key workers in the Project, watch some of the video material, observe a conversation between two people from the Coordinating Group who hold different views and reflect back in smaller groups in break out rooms.
"This engagement about a personal and sensitive subject on which the Church of England is struggling to agree will be challenging and demanding, but if conducted in a respectful and gracious manner, according to the pastoral principles identified by the Pastoral Advisory Group, will be a good opportunity to learn and prepare us for how we might further the process of discernment around the diocese."
In a letter to parishes (also reflected to parishes in a Parish Update ebulletin story) Bishop Julian says: "As a Diocese, we now join with the rest of the Church in entering a period of engaging, listening and learning which will continue right through 2021.
"While parishes can, of course, do their own discernment work it is my hope that we can also support and facilitate discussions and reflection across the Diocese, in groups and individually.
"The LLF Resources give opportunity to engage graciously with those who think differently from us, on issues which are deeply significant to us as a Diocesan family and in our wider society.
"I join with my colleagues in the House of Bishops in hoping these resources will provide a foundation for open, honest and gracious listening, learning and discussions from people of all points of view."
Ronnie Semley; page created November 2020 and updated regularly - last on Feb 9, 2021