Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Following the meeting of the College of Bishops on Tuesday, we write to you ahead of the publication of the full proposal from the College on Friday. Please take time to read the press release from the Church of England, which is available here.

We know that many of you have been praying for us as we have engaged in conversations around identity, relationships, sexuality and marriage, and as you yourselves have engaged with the Living in Love and Faith material. It is important that we all continue to take responsibility for engaging with this deeply vulnerable and important journey of awareness and discernment that Living in Love and Faith facilitates.

Thank you for your prayers and support; please continue to pray for us, for all members of General Synod ahead of the meeting in February, and indeed for us all as God’s church. The proposals are being refined in the light of Tuesday’s meeting and they will be published on the Church of England website on Friday 20 January. We encourage you to read them in their entirety, as the reports that have been published so far do not include detail that is important for appreciating the overall content and tone of the proposals.

Importantly, the proposals to be released on Friday begin with a clear apology to the LGBTQI+ community for experiences of hostility, rejection and mistreatment by the Church. We want to take this opportunity to utter that apology ourselves, deeply and with sincere grief, on behalf of our Diocese.

We also take this opportunity to express our unity and support of the proposals, which convey both the breadth of convictions held within the College of Bishops and the determination to belong to one another in grace and humility. We want to emphasise that we care deeply about the unity of the Diocese, and believe that you as a diocese and us as your bishops can and will minister in a way that holds the Diocese of York together.

We acknowledge that there are different convictions within the Church on matters of sexuality and relationships, but we believe that the proposals represent a way forward which respects the consciences of all. This reflects our strong desire and commitment to walk together; whilst we are aware that some people within our diocesan family will believe the proposals go too far, some will believe that they do not go far enough. As your bishops, we hold together both difference and unity between ourselves and consequently model this leadership amongst you.

Therefore together we welcome and appreciate the way this range of Prayers of Love and Faith supports all those called to stable, committed, faithful relationships, taking the form of marriage, civil partnership, or covenanted friendship, so that they, as well as those called to singleness, may prayerfully place themselves and their relationships within their Christ-centred discipleship. We know that, for some, the unchanged continuation of the doctrine of Holy Matrimony in the terms it has been received within the Church of England will be a source of regret and disappointment, whilst for others it will be a source of reassurance. We ask you to hold each other, and us, in grace and love at this time.

+Stephen Ebor:
Archbishop of York

+Paul Whitby
Bishop of Whitby

+John Selby
Bishop of Selby

+Eleanor Hullen
Bishop of Hull