Our journey so far
In October 2018 the four bishops of the Diocese of Oxford issued Clothe Yourselves with Love: a pastoral letter on the inclusion of and care for LGBTI+ people within the diocese. Just over a year later, the diocese launched a chaplaincy service for LGBTI+ people and their families.
In November last year, the Church of England published a landmark set of resources to aid discernment and decision-making on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. Living in Love and Faith is the most extensive research into this area by any church, and it’s designed to enable a period of church-wide learning and engagement to take place during 2021, after which there will be recommendations made for the future life and mission of the Church.
The resources draw together the Bible, theology, science and history with powerful real-life stories designed to help every Christian explore questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
In the Diocese of Oxford, we are encouraging parishes and deaneries to run the LLF course and to engage with the LLF materials between September 2021 and April 2022. This timetable is to allow time for a proper focus on regathering after the lockdowns and, we hope, to enable the conversations to be face-to-face as well as online. The national Next Steps group will be gathering feedback from thousands of different groups across the country. This timetable will allow responses to be made as part of the national process.
We are encouraging everyone who engages with the LLF material to fill in the digital LLF survey available on the LLF Hub (there are also Word and PDF versions). Feedback is anonymous, but please include the code LWC28OD so we can track the number of responses from our diocese.
The LLF Next Steps Group have, with the agreement of the archbishops, extended the window for LLF engagement and response until April 2022 to allow extra time for the process. All feedback must be submitted by 30th April.
The change in timetable means that the findings of the Listening to the Whole Church process will be reported at the beginning of September 2022. The plan is to maintain the November 2022 General Synod meeting as the moment when a clear sense of direction is reached.
The national LLF team are running sessions on the following dates:
- Wednesday 16 February, 10.00am – 12noon
- Monday 21 February, 6-8pm
Please email Georgina Morgan to sign up. These will be the final sessions run nationally and places are limited.
In June we hosted three introductory webinars to introduce LLF to the diocese. These events were attended by more than 400 people across the diocese and received excellent feedback from those who attended.
You can watch the presentations within these webinars by clicking the links below. The presenter was Revd Dr Eeva John, the Church of England’s Enabling Officer for LLF.
What is Living in Love and Faith (LLF)?
Living in Love and Faith (LLF) is a landmark set of resources produced by the Church of England to aid discernment and decision-making on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. It’s designed to enable a period of church-wide learning using the LLF Course, films, podcast and other resources in the online library. Find out more about LLF.
Why might I want to join in with LLF?
The LLF process is a unique opportunity to play your part in the life and direction of the Church of England. It’s about learning from each other and being open together to hear what God is saying to the Church of England today. The hope is that churches across the country will run the LLF Course in small groups and contribute responses (as a group or individually) to be gathered and fed into the next stage of the General Synod debate in 2022. Find out more about how to make your voice heard.
How can I join in?
Start by asking your vicar or church leadership team whether they are or would consider running an LLF Course you can join. If your church is not taking part at this time, contact one of the LLF advocates to find out if there is a course running near you that you can join. There are other resources available on the LLF Hub including a book and podcast episodes. You can go through the resources yourself, but the hope is that most people will engage with the resources (most likely through the LLF Course) with others.
What is the purpose/outcome of LLF?
Through the LLF process, it’s hoped that churches across England will engage in a discussion and learn together on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
The process involving the whole church is also to gain feedback (through an online survey) to enable the Church of England to listen to your learning, reflections and experiences of engaging with the LLF resources. Your feedback will help inform discussions in General Synod. Read the full learning outcomes for the process.
How do I respond/feed back on the LLF process?
We are encouraging everyone who engages with the LLF content to complete the digital LLF survey which is available through the LLF Hub (there are also Word and PDF versions). All feedback is anonymous, but we would love you to use the code LWC28OD to track the number of responses from across the diocese. All feedback must be submitted by the 30th April 2022.
What support can I get if I find these topics difficult or painful?
The diocese’s LGBTI+ Chaplaincy Service offers listening, support, and prayerful affirmation for LGBTI+ people, their families, and friends. The LGBTI+ Chaplains are outside the LLF process but are available to discuss anything the LLF discussions raise. Alternatively, there may be a local pastoral team which you can seek support from. If neither of these avenues are appropriate, please email us and we can direct you to additional support.
How can I pray for the LLF process?
Here’s a suggested prayer for anyone who wants to pray for the LLF process:
God, whose name is Love,
Whose gift is life,
Whose word holds all in being;
Bless Living in Love and Faith to your church
As we seek to grow together
Into the truth of our humanity and longings,
Into communities where all find welcome,
Into the fullness that is your image in us;
Through the Word made flesh,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ.
A comprehensive suite of LLF resources
- Living in Love and Faith learning hub – an online resource library of over 300 resources to draw from including story films, podcasts, and teaching resources. Log in/register for the LLF hub.
- Living in Love and Faith book – Amid the biblical, theological, historical and scientific exploration, each of the five parts includes encounters with real, contemporary disciples of Christ whose stories raise questions which ask us to discern where God is active in human lives. Order from Church House Publishing.
- A five-session course for small groups – including videos and a booklet to use. You can download digital copies of the booklet from the LLF hub. If you would like physical copies, order one free copy and then purchase additional copies from Church House Publishing (packs of six or single copies). Note: Many groups are finding that the booklets are not needed when using the videos.
- LLF course for young people – Guidance is also available for running the five-session course with young people.
Other links and useful information
- Clothe yourselves with love
The pastoral letter to the diocese that sets clear expectations of inclusion and respect towards LGBTI+ people.
- Contact the diocesan LLF Advocates
- LGBTI+ Chaplaincy Service
The LGBTI+ chaplaincy service in the Diocese of Oxford offers listening, support and prayerful affirmation for LGBTI+ people, their families and friends.
- BBC interview with two members of the LLF working group
A radio interview with two of the members of the LLF working group – Revd Dr Andrew Goddard and Revd Canon Giles Goddard.
- Resources for use with young people
Although not officially part of the LLF resources, these materials for use with children, young people and families might be helpful.
- Find out more behind the LLF project