Following the vote in February 2023 at General Synod to move forward with provision to bless those in same-sex relationships within the Church of England, Bishop Michael is conscious of the pastoral needs that have arisen or been highlighted by the raising of this issue. He is glad to announce the establishment of a chaplaincy support team to provide a confidential safe space for listening, encouragement, spiritual and pastoral care, and to signpost to other opportunities for support.
Bishop Michael announced the new resource during his Presidential Address at Saturday's Diocesan Synod at Telford Minster where he also outlined his personal views on the General Synod vote and its outworkings in the diocese. Read the address.
This support is being made available for anyone in the diocese, both within the LGBT+ community and outside of it, who hold different convictions on this issue. It has been put in place as a pilot scheme, which will be reviewed after six months. Strict confidentiality will be maintained in all conversations, and safeguarding standards will be rigorously guaranteed.
Chaplains available include those from an ‘affirming perspective’ and an ‘orthodox perspective’:
Matt is available to offer chaplaincy support from an ‘affirming perspective’ to people across the diocese, signposting to other opportunities for support where needed. Matt is a Reader in the benefice of Barton-under-Needwood with Dunstall & Tatenhill in East Staffordshire, a member of General Synod and is well-connected to affirming groups within the Church. He can be contacted at email@example.com
The Revd James Gandon
James is available to coordinate chaplaincy responses for those from an ‘orthodox perspective’, and has links to people who can support from a catholic and an evangelical background, both men and women. James has been the Vicar at St Andrew’s in Sneyd Green, Stoke-on-Trent, since 2017 and chairs the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org