LEADING THE WAY: Never afraid of a controversial issue, the Belford branch of the Mothers’ Union invited Jennie Jones to talk about lesbian and gay relationships and civil partnerships in the Christian context – the first branch in the Diocese to want to discuss the issues.
Jennie reflected the emotional and affectionate bonds that keep the church community together.
And as society changes, so does the church. Sometimes, that stretch is challenging for more traditional congregations.
There has been a change over the years from a position where gay relationships were illegal to a growing acceptance of gay and lesbian couples and individuals as friends, work mates and full members of communities.
Government proposals for civil partnerships to be registered on church premises – provided there is broad based agreement by the Church and local authorities etc – are now out for consultation. And the Mothers’ Union is one of the bodies being consulted.
The Church of England has given considerable thought to the issue with studies carried out from 1978 to the turn of the century.
The conclusion was that guidance in the Bible is mixed and that the church needs to listen. But many Christians fear that Civil Partnerships undermine traditional marriage.
Jennie posed some difficult questions for Branch members in groups and the discussion delved deep into the issues. No ultimate conclusions were reached, but Jennie suggested that asking ourselves what Jesus would have done is probably a good start.
Branch leader Sylvia Hickey said: “Following this approach, the Belford branch will hold its second annual open meeting on July 6 in which Keith Breeze will talk about sexual exploitation and online grooming of children. All are welcome. We meet at 7pm in Bell View, Belford.”