Is the House of Bishops ready to make evolutionary and revolutionary choices about the direction in which the Church of England’s teachings about gender and sexuality will evolve? The key question about the Teaching Document for LGBTI+ members of the Church of England is: will this report achieve the radical change we now urgently need, both we who identify as LGBTI and the majority in the church for whom current teaching and practice is no longer adequate or believable?
Three weeks ago a minor anniversary passed. On 20 January 2012 the Church Times finally published the Osborne Report on its web site. The report was written in 1989 but suppressed by the House of Bishops. Here are a few excerpts from the Osborne Report which are still apposite, interwoven with some comments on and comparisons with the report from the House of Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality, Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations. Osborne noted in 1989 the “considerable contrast between the attitudes which prevailed” in their youth sixty years ago compared with younger clergy. That considerable contrast has grown into a chasm, a chasm between generations and between tribes in the Church of England.