I recently saw this article in The Guardian. It highlighted for me one of the good, and at the same time bad, things about the Church of England.
The CofE is what is described as a broad church. Many Churches have a Statement of Belief, and if you want to belong to their Church you have to sign to say that you agree with everything in it. The Church of England does not. Instead if you can say the liturgy with integrity you are in. Queen Elizabeth I arranged this on purpose at a time when Christians were killing each other over differences of interpretation. She said:
I would not open windows into men’s souls.
This leaves the Church of England with a wide spread of beliefs/interpretations which are legitimately held by members. I like this, it means that we know that we are not expected to know the mind of God – that as Oliver Cromwell said:
I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.
However, some strands of the Church of England are more comfortable with this than others. It is in some ways as though the Church is a collection of several different churches.
This is a long-winded way of saying that within the Church of England you will be able to find churches as described in the article, and at the same time you will be able to find those, like ours, which are members of Inclusive Church, and which try to welcome everybody.
There are of course other churches which welcome LGBTQI+ people more than the CofE is able to do while we struggle to work out how to do this in a way that satisfies everybody within the church.
The linked article by a vicar gives a flavour of the difficulties faced finding one which welcomes everyone.
Don’t give up on God yet!
Image by Belinda Fewings, Unsplash