Living in Love and Faith and the College of Bishops

15th November 2022

A Comment from Bishop Anne,

From 31 October to Wednesday 2 November the College of Bishops met for the first of several meetings taking place over the coming months as we enter the final part of the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ journey. This follows the period of learning in which the whole church has been encouraged to engage with the “Living in Love and Faith”(LLF) resources. Our convening was conducted in an atmosphere of prayerfulness, honesty and thoughtfulness, held by a framework of worship and engagement with scripture.

Archbishop Justin Welby, said:
“As our meeting draws to its close and as our journey moves on to the next stage in the LLF process, I pray for continued guidance from the scriptures about God’s intention for human life in all its glory and joy.” 

At this stage, it is not about making a choice between two clear paths but a range of options, some of which are still emerging. I was encouraged by the desire of bishops to listen well not only to one another, but to the voices of those who have engaged with the LLF resources, responding in a variety of creative forms.

The journey from here

We cannot predict or fore-guess which particular proposals bishops will offer. It is truly a journey of prayerful discernment and listening. It is becoming clear, however, that there are those amongst both the bishops and within the wider church who hope for some manner of change and we will need to navigate this together as Christ’s church.

My hope and prayer is that as the Church, we will find a way of walking together in our difference. As Acting Bishop in Birmingham at this time, I will seek to hear both concerns and hopes, and am willing to talk honestly and openly about my own. The desire to learn and understand more of each other and of God should never come an end, even when this current process concludes.

These matters touch deeply on real human lives, pain and experience, as well as deeply held theological convictions. I would like to commend to you, 

Prayer and patience – as we journey together
Care and kindness - for one another
Learning and listening – continues as a way of life

Above all, I encourage us to seek the Christ-likeness that God desires for us all and a commitment to walking together. I offer for further reflection one of the scriptures we shared at the College of Bishops meeting, 

“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2 -4506

With my prayers for you all

Bishop Anne
Bishop of Aston, Acting Bishop of Birmingham

The Church of England press release about the meeting of the College can be found here
Full information about “Living in Love and Faith” and the LLF online resource library is available on the Church of England website.