Synod Hears Interim Report of Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief




The interim report of the Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief was received at Synod.

Dean John Mann (Connor) proposed the report. He outlined the approach being taken by the committee and said that “the subject matter itself is large enough, without the additional complication of needing to become familiar with the variety of views sincerely held on this subject, and which have resulted in the voicing of points of disagreement, or even dispute, in a way that can damage Christian unity”.

However, he said they have been “conscious that all that we are talking about affects individuals; chiefly those within the LGBT community, but also every other person that is consciously, or sub–consciously, seeking to relate, within the fellowship of the Church, to those of a different sexual orientation to themselves – or who may, in fact, be struggling to understand their own attractions, or lack of them, within ordinary daily life and the normal joys and sorrows of their practical Christian discipleship”.

Dean Mann said they were working towards unanimity on a document which they hoped would be achieved by the autumn.

The report was seconded by Helen McClennaghan (Armagh).

Speaking to the report, the Revd Colin Thompson supported the acceptance of the report and said he wanted to listen and learn from the committee. He said he was supporting the work of the commission, despite his own views, and was looking forward to its deliberations.

John Saunders (Limerick and Killaloe) said there was a tendency within the Church to cherry pick the three part motion from 2012. There are some that focus on the first part reaffirming the traditional view of marriage. However, he said there was much more than that. He was critical of the press release put out by the Church in Society Commission restating the first part of the motion. “Mutual respect within our Church would be better served if those who pointed to the first part of the motion if at the same time acknowledging that there is a substantial minority who do not agree with that and would like it to be changed,” he said.

Alan Templeton (Down) suggested that the report was straying into areas which is the remit of other committees. He encouraged the committee not to take their eye off the ball.

Wendy Donnaghy (Raphoe) said she was glad the committee was in place and hoped that the talking would not go on forever and that the action would begin so that people who felt excluded could be included.

The motion was accepted by Synod.

Text from Synod reports: