Living in Love and Faith

This programme of Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationship and marriage was launched across the Church of England at the end of 2020. The programme invites us all to think about how questions about these issues fit within the bigger picture of the good news of Jesus Christ and what it means to live in love and faith together as a Church. It takes a new approach to a big issue by listening to the views of the whole Church, so the more people who participate and offer feedback, the more this aim will be fulfilled.

Introductory page on the Church of England website

The LLF Advocate for the Diocese of Gloucester is Margaret Sheather who can be contacted on about any aspect of the programme and its local implementation. You can view the LLF Advocate role description here

Living in Love and Faith – Extended time for engagement

“Many of you have raised concerns about the limited time available to engage with the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) programme, so it’s very good to be able to report that the window for engagement and response has now been extended nationally to April 2022.  This provides a much broader opportunity for those of you who want to take part but are not ready to do so this autumn to plan for something in the early months of next year.  This change was in response to many requests for more time and should increase the potential to achieve the aim of “listening to the whole church”.  Margaret Sheather. 

The Living in Love and Faith Learning Hub

All national LLF resources can be found here
The purpose is to inspire people to think more deeply about what it means to be human and to live in love and faith with one another. Dealing with sensitive and complex questions of identity, relationships and sexuality, the resources offer a variety of ways to learn, reflect and pray together.

They are accessed by registering on the Hub, which is a very simple process, and you can then explore the resources for use with others in your parish or individually.

Resources include:

  • The book – to explore online or download
  • The course – to support small groups exploring the core questions – See section on The Course.
  • Story films – a wide range of people describing in their own words how they are Living in Love and Faith
  • Podcasts – round table discussions about LLF themes from the book
  • LLF library – an extensive library of books, essays and articles to enable further exploration of any issues that grab your attention
  • The Pastoral Principles for Living and Learning Well Together – these can support any shared learning process but are very relevant to the LLF programme.

The course

If you are planning to run the course in your local area, please let Margaret Sheather know so that she has an overview of activity across the diocese.

National resources

This is the core LLF engagement activity proposed for use by the whole church. There are five 1½ hour sessions and the set of videos provides an accessible way for people to explore the key questions together. They are accompanied by a booklet, which can also be used separately as the basis for the course, or for personal reflection and study.

This section of the website also includes general guidance for group leaders/facilitators and specific guidance about helping to create a braver and safer space for learning well together.

All course leaders and participants are invited to complete a survey and/or send a creative response so that reactions and experiences are gathered from across the church to inform the next steps. The link to the survey is here online survey.

Local support

Facilitation training – For anyone considering running the course in your local area Margaret Sheather is offering the national 2 hour Facilitation Training session which is a chance to refresh facilitation skills and also focus on specific facilitation issues in relation to this topic. The dates currently available are: Thursday 15 July 6 – 8 pm all via Zoom. Please contact Margaret Sheather (details above)  to sign up or to indicate interest if you can’t make these dates.

Free copies of the course booklet from the Department of Mission and Ministry via: 

Diocesan-wide courses led by members of the central group of facilitators. It is intended to run two courses after the main summer break: one across two Saturdays, and one across five weekly sessions. These provide an opportunity for participation by people who, for whatever reason, are unable to participate in a local course. If you would like to know more about these then please register your interest by filling in this form by 23 July so that we can work out suitable dates.

The central group of facilitators has another role as well as leading the diocesan course. It’s recognised that not every local leader, lay or ordained, may feel confident to lead the course or would like a co-facilitator alongside them given the sensitivity of the issues under discussion. There are seven facilitators available and you can access their support by contacting Margaret Sheather.

The facilitators are:

  • Revd Lara Bloom
  • Revd Ian Bussell
  • Karen Czapiewski
  • Revd Pauline Godfrey
  • Margaret Sheather
  • Revd Jason Taylor
  • Ian Todd

Taster event

During April Bishop Rachel hosted a ‘Living in Love and Faith’ (LLF) project taster event, led by Eeva John who is the Enabling Officer for the LLF process. It provided an opportunity to learn about the vision and purpose of the LLF project. You can view the recording below. To ensure privacy only key speakers have been shown in this video.

 

Living in Love and Faith Chaplaincy Team

Inevitably the issues brought to the fore by the discussions around Living in Love and Faith may impact the lives of ministers in ways that mean they would like a safe space to talk. The LLF Chaplaincy team has been created to fulfil this role. The views and positions of the chaplaincy team are diverse in order that anyone who feels the need of chaplaincy will know that they are safe. Offering a safe and confidential space for people aged over 18 within the Diocese those who seek help can be confident that they will be listened to with attentiveness and respect, be offered prayer and spiritual support a maximum of two one-hour sessions to each individual. For longer term support people will be signposted to wider resources and networks.

For more information contact Pauline Godfrey Lead LLF Chaplain 01452 835548

Further references

See also: Shared Conversations on Scripture, Mission and Human Sexuality (2019)

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