The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, writes for ACNS on the Church of England’s new guidance to help church-schools tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying
One million children are educated in Church of England schools. We are determined to make them places where every child can flourish. Our new guidance to help Church schools tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is about making every one of our 5,000 brilliant schools safe places to grow up. All bullying causes profound damage: it leads to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.
The Church of England is committed to an education that enables people to live life in all its fullness, and fulfils the words of Jesus in John 10:10: “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and the celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.
The guidance is about prevention of bullying, not sexual ethics. It reflects the Church’s understanding that every person has intrinsic dignity as a human being – and acts on the position of the Anglican Communion that condemns homophobia in these words:
“The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.
“The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God's love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression.”
(Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion, 15 January 2016)