As a church we pray together, worship together, and wrestle with situations in the world, support BMS and our BMS missionaries. We support Home Mission and try to discuss our vision and values for todays world. Our current discussions are centred around same sex relationships.
We at Haddenham Baptist Church seek to be a community where anyone can encounter the grace of God, where everyone experiences the love of God and where together we try to live the life of God.
As we try to live up to this vision we embrace the challenge of discernment. This means we are constantly reflecting on and questioning our practises and beliefs to ensure we are living the life God has called us to live and offering grace and love appropriately in our time and place. We hope that this is a natural and intuitive posture and practise of our church, but occasionally there will be specific issues that require a more structured and organised time of discernment. We believe that one such issue is currently presenting itself. We believe that we are being challenged to consider the place of lesbian and gay Christians within the life of our church.
We recognise that this discernment has the potential to be difficult and contentious. For some it directly impacts on their personal lives and their place within our church. For others it relates to their family members and friends. For many it will mean challenging long held beliefs which will be destabilising for their faith. For others this will be an issue of deeply held convictions – of sin and/or justice.
And so, recognising the potential difficulty we want to embark on this conversation well. Which is why we have asked the Revd Dr Anthony Clarke to help facilitate our conversations, and he has kindly agreed. Anthony is known to many of us at HBC as a member at Cornerstone Baptist in Thame. He is employed at Regents Park College, Oxford as the Senior Tutor & Tutorial Fellow in Pastoral Studies and Community Learning. He comes with years of experience in helping churches and ministers explore issues of faith and practise and he will be a huge blessing to us throughout our conversations. He has also been heavily involved in Cornerstone’s discernment process in this area over the past 18 months.
With Anthony’s help, we will provide the clarity, direction, and space required for such a discernment process. These will be agreed by the deaconate and the church meeting before we begin the process so that we may travel well together. This belief has emerged as a result of the responses to a church-wide survey regarding the place of Same-Sex Married Ministers commissioned by the Baptist Union.
The following dates, all at 5pm in the schoolroom, will offer the opportunity to learn more and discuss the matter with others.
Sunday 14th Jan
Sunday 4th Feb
Sunday 3rd March
Sunday 14th April
Sunday 12th May