Living in Love and Faith – Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, written by Margaret Sheather.
“We, the Bishops of the Church of England invite you to join us in using this book and its accompanying resources to learn together about how the Christian understanding of God relates to questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. These are questions that touch all of us deeply…and so this invitation is about learning together as human beings, each one of us created in the image of God and equally precious in God’s sight.”
This is how the Bishops introduce us to the book that is at the heart of the Living in Love and Faith programme and invite the whole Church of England to engage in the process of learning together.
All around us we see changing understandings of human identity, changing patterns in relationships and families, changing sexual attitudes and activity. What does it mean for a follower of Jesus to walk in love, faith and holiness today? Alongside the book, the church has published films, podcasts and a short course to enable all of us to take part in this programme and feedback our experiences and learning to the Bishops and General Synod. Some of you may already have started to explore these resources which can be found at https://llf.churchofengland.org/ .
Each diocese has been asked to appoint a Living in Love and Faith (LLF) Advocate. Their role is to encourage church communities of all kinds in the diocese to participate in the learning activities offered by the varied resources, to gather the emerging learning and to make sure this learning is listened to in our own diocese as well as feeding in to the national process. They are an advocate for participation, not for any particular point of view or outcome.
I was asked to be the Gloucester Diocesan Advocate and happily accepted. My role in the Church involves being the Stroud Deanery Lay Chair, a member of the Cathedral Chapter and one of the diocese’s representatives on General Synod. I have been interested and involved in the church’s discussions of these issues since being one of the diocesan representatives at the 2015 ‘Shared Conversations’ programme that started this current phase of discussion in the C of E. Living in Love and Faith now focuses on what we all need to learn about ourselves as Christians in relation to these deep issues and I hope I can enable a wide range of engagement across the diocese so that our learning and experiences contribute to that of the whole church. You’ll be hearing more from me in future bulletins about what we have planned to achieve this.
The first event organised is a Taster Session on 19 April to which people from across the diocese have been invited to learn more about the vision and purpose of the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ project and an opportunity to explore some of the resources. If you would like to know more please contact Lucy Taylor on
You may also be interested in these two podcasts on the topic of human sexuality.