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Some pastoral principles as we talk about Purposeful Sexuality

As we begin our Purposeful Sexuality Season across the family of churches we will, no doubt, all find ourselves having conversations with fellow Christians who have had very different experiences, are coming from different places, when it comes to their sexuality and sexual ethics.

To help members of the Church of England navigate similar conversations, the Archbishops’ Pastoral Advisory Group (on which I served) highlighted “six pervading evils” people need to be aware of when talking about such personal and painful things.

I’ve been pondering how they might help us in our context at the beginning of this season. Let’s be praying that we would each be sensitive to the danger of:

  • Prejudice: of people stereotyping others rather than responding with Christ-like love and empathy towards people different to them.
  • Silence: of people not feeling able to talk openly about their experiences of sexuality and sex in a way that leaves them isolated and without the help they need.
  • Ignorance: of people not knowing what God thinks about them, or sexuality – or not knowing what the Emmanuel Bristol family of churches believes and why.
  • Fear: of people living in fear of sharing what they really think or do because of how others might respond
  • Hypocrisy: of people asking others to do things they are not up for doing themselves, or self-righteously condemning in public what they do in private.
  • Power: of people imposing their view on others often through a lack of awareness of much influence their position, personality or words might have.

You can find out more about these Pastoral Principles here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/general-synod/bishops/pastoral-advisory-group/pastoral-principles