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Research papers in the category .
A Church of England working party on sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, has called for a more welcoming approach to lesbian and gay people, though not full inclusion. It recognises the current lack of consensus on the theology of sexuality, including what the Bible has to say, and recommends that clergy be free to hold services, though not weddings, for same-sex couples.
The report is a small step forward, though it is over-cautious and its handling of historical and scientific evidence is weak, this detailed analysis from Ekklesia suggests. It is also unbalanced, giving too much space to one dissenting member of the working party, firmly opposing any shift by the church towards a more pluralistic stance on same-sex partnerships. Yet it acknowledges diversity, encourages openness to listening and growth, and may lead to further progress in enabling the church to value its lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) members and credibly witness in today’s world to God’s love for all.
As part of its own engagement with policy work on alternative economics, financial reconstruction and the economy of the churches, Ekklesia believes that the São Paulo Statement: International Financial Transformation for the Economy of Life, produced by the Global Ecumenical Conference on a New International Financial and Economic Architecture, remains of fundamental importance in a wider conversation that civil society organisations and think-tanks will also have an important role in contributing to over the next few years.
Amid the turmoil hastened by uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa in 2013, and indeed over the past three years, we must not forsake hope about the future of this region – even when its visible signs seem to be eerily absent – argues regional analyst and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian. In this briefing paper he offers seven lenses for viewing current and recent events. As to the future, the hope is that the pain and sacrifice involved will prove a valve for genuine change. The MENA region is definitely in for the long haul. There are no easy or neat solutions. But today the road ahead still remains open, albeit bumpy.
Love of God and neighbour are inextricably intertwined, and committed loving partnerships can nurture spiritual growth as well as bringing joy. Couples and their children (where present) are also called to care for others outside their own households. In Jesus Christ, men and women are invited to be part of a wider family whose love overspills to the needy and even enemies, Christians recognise. Barriers of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and status are overcome in this divine commonwealth of justice and mercy which is the new family created by Christ. Little of this vision comes across in Men and women in marriage, issued by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission with the House of Bishops’ approval in 2013 and commended for study. This document attempts to justify senior clergy’s opposition to marriage equality while allowing pastoral “accommodations” for same-sex couples. Its approach to the Bible, tradition, reason and experience is inadequate, and it fails to do justice to many heterosexual as well as same-sex couples, with damaging consequences for the wider church’s mission and ministry.
This review of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has been written by Stef Benstead with support from the Spartacus network of disabled researchers and advocates. It examines the failure of the current ESA system and makes ten recommendations for interim improvements to ESA, with the ultimate aim of pointing towards radical changes in the welfare system so that it can benefit all, but particularly disabled, sick and other vulnerable people. Inter alia, the report reveals that, contrary to the latest official report, first-year Review recommendations have mostly not been adequately implemented and that the experience of those subject to assessment is negative and damaging.
Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed)
The Subversive Manifesto: Lifting the Lid on God's Political Agenda by Jonathan Bartley
Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Jonathan Bartley
Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Eds)
Threatened with Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ by Simon Barrow