[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Church of England has confirmed the membership of its new Bishops’ Reflection Group which has been established to help the Church’s bishops as they continue to reflect on issues relating to human sexuality. The group was established by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York following discussions at last week’s meeting of the C of E’s College of Bishops, which includes all diocesan and suffragan bishops in the Province.
In a statement, the C of E set that the new group would assist the bishops’ reflections “in the light of theological, biblical, ecumenical, Anglican Communion, pastoral, missiological, historical and societal considerations bearing on these issues, and following experiences of the shared conversations held around the Church between 2014 and 2016.”
In particular, the group has been asked to identify “questions in relation to human sexuality, with particular reference to same sex relationships” and “develop possible answers to those questions for the House to consider.”
The House of Bishops as a whole will continue to reflect on the issue when it meets in November. The new reflection group has been asked to “provide material to assist the House of Bishops in its reflections [and] in its development of any statements on these matters which it may provide to the wider Church.”
As previously announced, the group will be chaired by the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James. He will be joined by vice-chair Pete Broadbent (Willesden), Dr Steven Croft (Oxford), Jonathan Goodall (Ebbsfleet), Julian Henderson (Blackburn), Libby Lane (Stockport), Dame Sarah Mullally (Crediton), Martin Seeley (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich), Rod Thomas (Maidstone), and Jo Bailey Wells (Dorking).
They will be supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff and strategy, Canon David Porter; the C of E’s mission and public affairs director, Dr Malcolm Brown; the secretary of the Council for Christian Unity, Dr Jeremy Worthen; as well as the provincial secretary William Nye and senior administrator Jonathan Neil-Smith.