REPORTS ON THE SHARED CONVERSATIONS
From the LGBTI Anglican Coalition about the Progress of Implementing
the Shared Conversations
recommended in the Pilling Report
13 December 2014.
Progress report from the LGBTI
Anglican Coalition on the Shared Conversations December 14th, 2014
by Colin Coward.
Taken from the Changing Attitude
Sarmiento and Keith Sharpe, the Co-chairs of the LGBTI Anglican
Coalition, briefed members of the LGBTI Anglican Coalition at a
meeting in London on December 13, 2014 about the Mutual
Conversations in the absence of David Porter who had to cancel at
the last minute owing to a family bereavement.
Keith outlined the history of
the Coalition’s contact with David Porter. Six members of the
Coalition first met David at Lambeth Palace on March 5, 2014. Also
present were Revd Helen Dawes, the Social and Public Affairs Adviser
and Revd Canon Chris Russell, Evangelism and Witness Adviser.
David invited the Coalition to
submit nominations for people who might be included in the Design
and the Resources Groups which were to be created to prepare for the
Shared Conversations. Names were discussed by the Coalition and
submitted on March 31.
The Coalition appointed the two
new co-chairs and arrangements were made on May 5 for them to meet
David Porter on June 24. David explained the purpose of the Mutual
Conversations as finding ways of living together in the Anglican
Communion. David was then optimistic that bishops would be open with
each other when they gathered in September.
The Shared Conversations
document prepared for General Synod was published on the C of E web
site on June 7, 2014.
On August 7 an email was
circulated to the Coalition informing us that four people had been
invited to talk to the College of Bishops’ meeting in September.
This action was taken because it had been recognised that gay
bishops especially were unlikely to be open with each other. The
four were asked to arrive at lunchtime on the Monday to address the
College for an hour in the evening. They were not allowed to join
the bishops in the opening afternoon session which focused on change
in society despite one of the four having written extensively on the
The process booklet and the
resources book were both available in draft for the College meeting.
The people nominated by the Coalition whose names were on March 31
were never contacted.
A report of the College of
Bishops’ meeting was posted on the C of E website on September 17.
On September 24 David Porter agreed to meet the Coalition on
December 13. I am clear that David has been overwhelmed by other
demands on his time and is hampered by a lack of resources and has
always had the best of intentions in his engagement with the
The Coalition Co-chairs met
David again on October 28 for an up-date. The next day David chaired
a review of the College of Bishops’ meeting and planned a further
roll out of the Shared Conversations.
On December 8 the Co-chairs
received in confidence copies of the Resources used at the September
College of Bishops’ meeting with the proviso that they can be
discussed by the Coalition but not circulated.
The next day, December 9, David
notified the Co-chairs that his father had died and he would be
unable to meet the Coalition on December 13.
At the Coalition meeting on
Saturday we were told that we are not allowed to read or report on
the current version of the Resources because they are still subject
to revision. The Resources were described to the Coalition but I am
not allowed to report what we were told.
The Coalition discussed the
brief bibliography attached to the Resources document and
recommended some additions, including Keith Sharpe’s book The Gay
Gospels and Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian.
As I said, I’m clear that David
Porter is in no way to blame for what has been a shockingly badly
handled process. He is organising Shared Conversations involving
some 2,640 people in every diocese over the next 18 months,
culminating in a two day exercise at the General Synod in July 2016.
David has been asked to
undertake this work with grossly inadequate resources, an impossible
brief, and a challenging time scale.
On Friday the Church Times
revealed information about the Green report, a key report setting
out a programme of “talent management” in the Church. The programme
has been allocated a budget of £2 million over 5 years.
allocation of resources is a guide to the value placed by Lambeth
Palace and Church House on the comparative merits of the Shared
Conversations and the need to train bishops and a “talent pool” of
150 “high potential individuals” then the latter are clearly far
The Church of England might just
be far more effective in mission and evangelism and communicating
God’s infinite, unconditional love to the nation were it to persuade
the nation that is genuinely welcomes LGBTI people and is dealing
with its systemic homophobia.
20 January 2015
between David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Reconciliation
Officer and the LGBTI Anglican Coalition
A private meeting between David
Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Reconciliation Officer and
the LGBTI Anglican Coalition took place at Lambeth Palace on
the 20th January 2015. A full and frank discussion took place during
which the arrangements being made by the Church of England for the
shared discussions were considered.