Theological and Bible Colleges play a vital role in preparing the next generation of ministers, pastors and clergy. One of the issues they will face is how to deal with questions about sexual orientation.
As the new academic year get underway, Accepting Evangelicals is offering to visit Theological & Bible Colleges to help students prepare for questions on sexuality. We will be writing to colleges over the next few weeks, offering to present the case for an accepting or affirming theology for faithful, committed same-sex partnerships.
This follows a very successful day at Trinity College Bristol last year where speakers were given the opportunity to present both traditional and inclusive understandings on sexuality. Each speaker was listened to with courtesy and respect. No-one felt the need to walk out – indeed attendance was very high from the student body and evaluation forms showed equally high scores for the day.
Find out more by following this link on the AE Blog – Calling Theological Colleges
Last month saw 3 Diocesan Synods in New Zealand debating motions on homosexuality. Dunedin and Waiapu both voted in favour of a motion affirming that homosexual orientation was no bar to ordination and Auckland went further in affirming that “persons in committed same-sex relationships likewise should not be excluded from being considered for discernment, ordination, and licensing to any lay and ordained offices of the Church.”
In addition, the Waiapu motion rejected the notion of a moratorium on the ordination of those in same-sex relationships and asked its General Synod for a liturgy for same-sex blessings.
A large scale survey of US public opinion has revealed that most Americans think that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues, and this climbs to almost 70% among Millennials (under 30′s).
The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute also revealed that almost 2/3rds of Americans (including majorities of members of all religious groups) think that messages on homosexuality from places of worship contribute to higher rates of suicide among gay a lesbian young people.
The statistics bear out what many church leaders have been saying about the negative effect which conservative theology is having on mission and evangelism among young people.
Alongside the negative statistics there were more positive ones. 74% of those questioned thought that lesbian and gay people can be as committed to God and their religion as anyone else and, contrary to popular opinion, most Americans would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian minister in their community.
We have had an offer of a place to meet for AE Members in the Nottingham/Derby area.
I am writing to ask if there are local Accepting Evangelicals groups set up around the country? I live in Nottingham so if there is a local group in Nottingham or Derby I would be interested to hear details. If not , perhaps I could set up a time and venue for a potential group to meet….
If you would like to get together with others who are working through the same issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass your emails on!
AE is justifiably proud of the fact that we run the network on a tiny budget, (last year our total expenditure was less than £400) but the opportunities to do more mean that we need to raise more funds.
So can you help? We are asking AE members to consider making a small standing order to AE so that we can plan for the future. Even £2 per month will make a significant difference if enough people respond – but of course you can give more!
The standing order form can be downloaded from our website here. (the link is correct this time – sorry!)
We hope you will feel able to fill it in and sending to: AE Treasurer, Flat 3, 7 Upper Tollington Park, London N4 3EJ. Membership of AE will continue to be free, but we hope many will be able to help in this way.
here are some of the recent posts on the AE Blog:
God Bless and Keep You
August 2011 - New Zealand Commission, Prejudice in South Carolina, Marriage in New York, Controversy in Sydney, MCC letter to the Archbishop
July 2011 – Christians at Pride, CofE announces review of sexuality, Financial Support
June 2011 - Annual Meeting, Scottish Presbyterian & Italian Lutherans, CofE Bishops Controversy, Pilgimage of Repentance
May 2011 – Gay Marriage debate, Transgender recognition, Maze,
April 2011 – Baptist Focus, BMS World Mission, Pastor Peter J Gomes
March 2011 – Religious Civil Partnerships; Bishop Derek Rawcliffe
February 2011 – Ugandan Murder; UN Resolution; April Conference