Living in Love and Faith is about honest conversations within the breadth of Anglican opinions and understanding, writes Area Dean of Huddersfield, Revd Rachel Firth.
She has just run an LLF course at parish level and below is her personal reflection on engaging with this exciting process of discussion and debate.
“Huddersfield is a small, but diverse Deanery with church communities from across the spectrum of Anglicanism.
I’m fortunate to be Area Dean here, and as someone with a passion for inclusion, I’ve looked forward to engaging with Living in Love and Faith.
I have always believed that the breadth of Anglicanism is a strength.
LLF engages honestly, kindly and makes every attempt to achieve balance across that whole breadth and our Deanery clergy team has tried to follow its pattern of kind engagement and mutual support.
Firstly, as a Chapter we held two of the sessions together as an ‘experiment’ to help us all think through how we might use the materials in our varied parishes. It was a privilege to explore these sessions together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, focused on helping one another see what might be the right way to engage in each context.
As a result of this and the experience some of us had engaging with the Cathedrals’ pilot courses, we are considering running a Deanery-wide course in the Autumn. There was a feeling that some may find it easier to engage with the material away from their own church doorstep. The variety of voices in the gathered group on the pilot courses made for liberating conversations
On a parish level, I have run the course with a group made up of our regular Bible Study group and some members of the PCC.
At the end of the course we held an extra session at the request of the group to discuss how we thought it had gone and what feedback we wished to offer to the process. We decided torespond individually online via the LLF portal and as a group to our own PCC, with recommendations to the PCC for action.
The group’s recommendations (yet to be presented to PCC) include sending some direct feedback to all our Bishops, plus feeding back to the Diocesan LLF advocates. There is also a recommendation that we try to run the course again specifically inviting the under 30s in our congregation to participate.
There was a strong sense in our parish group that only those with particularly conservative views would bother to communicate this to the Bishops and that if the process is to achieve anything then all views need to be represented.
Talking to Deanery colleagues I can see that such concerns are real and present across the spectrum of belief. We all seem to feel that those with different opinions are louder than us – but LLF is not meant to be about who shouts the loudest.
This process is meant to be about reflecting honestly on the breadth of understanding in our Church and moving forward guided by the pastoral principles it lays out, rooted in our shared faith.”
Living in Love and Faith information, resources and contacts are available here