‘Shared diocesan conversations’ on sexuality to take place in the New Year

Conversations pictureThe subject of mission, scripture and human sexuality will be addressed at three special meetings being held in the diocese early in 2016. Key national writers and speakers on the subject have been invited to address the ‘Shared Conversations’ which will take place in Harrogate in late January and February and are open  to anyone to attend.

Among the speakers will be Bishop Keith Sinclair, Professor Loveday Alexander, Dr Al McFadyen (Leeds University), Dr Toby Howarth (Bishop of Bradford) and Peter Hart (Durham University).  You can download a new leaflet (as a PDF) below).

The meetings follow a House of Bishops working group which recommended in November 2013 that, “The subject of sexuality, with its history of deeply entrenched views, would be best addressed by facilitated conversations or a similar process to which the Church of England needs to commit itself at national and diocesan level.”

The Bishop of Ripon, James Bell, writing to all clergy, said he hoped the Shared would reflect a wide range of perspectives..  “It would be good to have a range of perspectives and experiences and conviction represented.  The core aim of the Shared Conversation is to find the emotional intelligence to listen to one another.  It is not to debate or change minds!”

The three day programme of Shared Conversations will be held at  Harrogate College, Hornbeam Park, close to the railway station, and each will share the same shape – opening addresses and conversation between the invited speakers in the morning, and conversations in groups with a facilitator in the afternoon.

The first session on Saturday 30 January 2016 will be on ‘Listening to the Bible’ with Bishop Keith Sinclair and Professor Loveday Alexander.

Day two, Saturday 13 February 2016, tackles ‘Listening to the Culture’ with Dr Al McFadyen (Leeds University), Dr Toby Howarth (Bishop of Bradford) and Peter Hart (Durham University).

The final Saturday, 27 February, will be ‘ Listening to Pastoral Perspectives’ with Dr Andrew Goddard (Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics), Dr Paul Goodliffe (Abingdon Baptist Church, Spurgeon’s College and University of Roehampton) and Katherine Grasham (Young People and Families Worker at St. James Church, Birkdale in the Diocese of Liverpool).

Each day will start at 10.00 am and finish by 4.00 pm and there will be a small charge of £5 to cover lunch (payable on the day).

Bishop James added, “We have opted for three Saturdays early in the year in the hope that both lay and clergy will find these convenient, and would ask that people make a commitment to all three, so that the group conversations can be sustained with the same people.”

For more information and to book contact Mrs Judith Richardson, by Monday 20th December 2015 at judith.richardson@westyorkshiredales.anglican.org saying whether you can attend all the sessions and any dietary or other special requirements.

More on the national Shared Conversations here 


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