Jayne Ozanne, shares experience of “Good Disagreement” at Church of Ireland General Synod fringe event

L-R: David  McConnell (Hon. Treas) Scott Golden (Chairman CAI) Janye Ozanne (Speaker) Canon Ginnie Kennerely (CAI) & Dean David Godfrey (Ret) (CAI)

L-R: David McConnell (Hon. Treas) Scott Golden (Chairman CAI) Janye Ozanne (Speaker) Canon Ginnie Kennerely (CAI) & Dean David Godfrey (Ret) (CAI)

Jayne Ozanne is known for her passionate commitment to “good disagreement” between those who hold differing opinions within the Church, especially on sexuality issues.

Speaking at a CAI sponsored event, to members of the Church of Ireland General Synod in Dun Laoghaire on Friday, May 13th, she urged the importance of fostering “good disagreement” and mutual respect between those of opposing views on sexuality issues in the Church.

Sharing the story of her own struggle to reverse her same-sex attraction and her eventual realisation that it was right for her to accept her orientation, Jayne explained how she became convinced that she was created to relate to those around her in this way and how she felt her calling was to help others in a similar situation and to help her fellow evangelical Christians to accept LGBT people as equals.

During the seminar Ms Ozanne shared her experience of helping Christians, particularly evangelicals, engage with this topic in the Church of England, and discussed the current debate within the Anglican Communion.   She also listened carefully to both opposing and supportive views from the floor, and expressed the hope that there would be further mutually respectful discussion at every level of church life. “Learning to listen across the conservative – liberal divide is crucial,” she said. “And I am so pleased that this has been mandated by the Report of the C of I’s Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief”

She continued “The Church of Ireland is at a pivotal point in its discussions on human sexuality – which will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands. Now, more than ever, Christians need to find the courage, wisdom and grace to engage with one another in a way that honours and respects the Christ in each other. How can such differences be reconciled? Is it possible to hold differing views in tension? What will this mean for the future of the Church?”

“This challenge offers a unique opportunity for the Church of Ireland to witness the transformative power of the Gospel, particularly in how it deals with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society. For too long their voices, and their pain, have gone unheeded. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has recently recognized this, responding during the Primates Meeting in January to a letter signed by over 100 senior Anglicans, by saying how sorry he was “for the hurt and pain both past and present that the Church has caused LGBT people”.

Ms Ozanne said that, central to the debate are our differing understandings of Scripture, and how we interpret it in the light of the different cultural contexts in which the books of the Bible were written. This requires a rigorous engagement with the texts, and demands a level of honesty about some of our greatest fears and prejudices. The journey is not for the faint hearted. It demands resilience, patience and grace – but most of all it compels us to speak the truth in love to each other, whilst looking to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God”

Recent Roles

Jayne Ozanne has recently taken a leading role in the spirituality and sexuality debate in the Church of England, and has a distinguished pedigree in the Anglican communion. She was a founding member of the Archbishops Council, and as a leading evangelical sat on the Advisory Board for the International Centre for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral Reconciliation, whilst also serving on the Steering Committee of Trinity Theological College, Bristol. She is currently a prominent lay member of General Synod, where she campaigns for all those who are marginalised, particularly the poor and those directly affected by the Church’s discussions on sexuality.


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