Living in Love and Faith (LLF) explores Christian teaching and learning about human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
The Church of England's extensive LLF resources draw together the bible, theology, science and history with real-life stories. They were commissioned by the House of Bishops and include a book, a series of films and podcasts and a course following three years’ work by a group of more than 40 people from across the Church.
They were intended to initiate a process of whole Church learning and engagement which ran until April 2022, within a clear timeframe, that will contribute to the Bishops’ discernment of a way forward in relation to questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage which will be announced in 2023.
Bishop Michael said: “These teaching and learning resources are an important part of the Church of England’s engagement with the complex issues of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
“I hope that churches will have good conversations within and between themselves, whatever their background or tradition, as we listen and learn together. The Living In Love and Faith resources offer real-life examples of people’s journeys from a wide variety of starting points to aid these ongoing conversations, while being shaped by the rich guidance of Holy Scripture, Christian tradition and contemporary science.
“We want these conversations to move graciously beyond polarising views, to bring people together and to help us all to grow as disciples of Jesus. I would encourage churches to engage with this carefully prepared material as we seek to discern God’s will in these crucial areas.”
The Living in Love and Faith resources include a 480-page book, a series of films and podcasts and an online library of other publications. At the heart of the project is a five-session course which is shaped to encourage reflection, discussion with others and feeding back. The course can be carried out online or in-person. It emphasises six 'Pastoral Principles' to enable honest speaking and respectful listening in as safe a space as possible. All churches are invited to participate, with feedback gathered via an anonymised online survey for individual participants and group leaders and through creative means. Find out more on the LLF hub.
Our diocesan LLF Advocate is our Director of Communications Pete Bate. Pete is working with a small diocesan Advocacy Group (see below), chaired by Bishop Jan McFarlane, bringing together clergy and lay people from across the diocese with a range of backgrounds and views. The role of the group is to advocate for the LLF process, to point people to the resources, and to listen and gather together views expressed from people and churches across the diocese.
If you or your church have already done the LLF course, or are planning to, please email Pete to let him know.
Diocese of Lichfield LLF Advocacy Group
The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane (Chair) - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Revd James Gandon: Vicar of Sneyd Green / Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship - email@example.com
Hannah Garside: Deanery Youth Enabler, Hodnet - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Revd Duncan Gorwood: Curate of Horninglow - email@example.com
The Revd Dr Jeanette Hartwell: Diocesan Vocations & Training Team Lead - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Revd Preb Pat Hawkins: Vicar of Ellesmere / General Synod - email@example.com
The Revd Josh Penduck: Vicar of St Giles, Newcastle / Chair of Fulcrum - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Revd Jim Trood: Vicar of St Matthew's, Walsall - email@example.com
Feedback on the LLF course
Father Duncan Gorwood, who led the LLF course for people in Tutbury Deanery, said: "The course was interesting and engaging; people from a wide rage of church backgrounds came along and so there was a range of different views and opinions. The pastoral principles framed the sessions really well and enabled people to discuss issues that were personally challenging in a safe space. We were privileged to have people share their own stories and learn from each others' experiences."
In this short film four people share their experiences of taking part in the LLF Course:
Introduction to LLF
An introduction to Living In Love And Faith took place in our diocese on 10 June 2021. It featured LLF Enabling Officer Dr Eeva John and provided an opportunity find out more about the purposes of LLF, to engage with the LLF Course and experience how it may work in their church context. The programme for the morning is here.
The LLF Intro powerpoint presentation can be downloaded and a recording of the morning can be watched here (or directly on YouTube):