Sue Mann

27th March 2022

Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of co-leading a course in Thurrock Deanery called ‘Living in Love and Faith.’

It is a five-week course aimed to help Christians think more deeply and reflect upon questions of identity, relationships and sexuality. Each of the five sessions explores a particular topic. These are:

  • Learning Together
  • Identity
  • Relationships
  • Sex
  • Life Together

An opening reflection about learning together is followed by two sections of teaching, time for discussion and a Bible study. The sessions all end with an invitation to reflect on our learning, bringing it to God in prayer.

During the five weeks we have heard stories of people in a variety of types of relationships and stories of others who have chosen to live a life of celibacy.

The great thing about this course is that people have come along prepared to listen and to understand those who perhaps hold a different viewpoint from them, or whose sexual orientation is different from their own. And the overarching theme of has been that of respect and an acknowledgement of God’s love for each one of us.

This course has been put together by a Church of England working group in recognition that some people from the LGBTQ+ community have been hurt, or have even been turned away by others. Those of us who have been involved in the course have had the opportunity to respond to the C of E at the end so that the Anglican Church is able to discern how best to move forward on matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage in a loving and sensitive manner .

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend this course, the resources and videos are free and available online and I encourage you to have a look at them. You can find them by going to Living in Love and Faith | The Church of England  Interestingly, during the time we were running this this course, I came across a book called Running to Resurrection by Clark Berge, A Franciscan Friar, whom I met when I was recently on retreat. It was about his life journey, part of which included his acceptance of himself as a gay man created in the image of God. It is very well written and well worth a read.

As we approach Easter, we remember that Christ came for and died for all. This includes those who are like us and those who are very different from us.

I look forward to seeing you at some, or all, of our Holy Week services and our Easter Service, details of which can be found later in this magazine.

Grant to your people, good Lord,

The spirit of unity,

That we may dwell together in your love,

And so bear to the world,

The ointment of your healing and the dew of your blessing;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Take care and God bless,


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