A Revival in Marriage? 9 Facts

Reports that the number of marriages in 2012 increased by 5% over the previous year, reversing a long – term trend, received widespread press commentary, especially on the marked increase in marriages for the oldest age groups.

Marriage increase

The Office for National Statistics has released this summary of 9 key facts about this increase, some of which should prompt serious reflection by the churches:

  1. There was one marriage every two minutes in 2012.
  2. There was an increase in marriages in 2012, with 262,2401 taking place. This was a 5.3% increase from 2011 when there were 249,133.
  3. Civil ceremonies accounted for 70% of all marriages in 2012. The proportion of marriages that were civil ceremonies first exceeded religious ceremonies in 1976.
  4. 60% (156,480) of marriages took place in approved premises such as hotels, stately homes and historic buildings.
  5. 67% (175,0401) of all marriages were first marriages for both partners
  6. 15% of all marriages (38,320) were remarriages for both parties and 19% (48,8801) were to couples where only one partner had been married previously
  7. The greatest number of marriages were for men and women aged 25 to 29.
  8. The mean age at marriage was 36.5 years for men and 34.0 years for women.
  9. The largest percentage increase in the number of marriages was for men and women aged 65 to 69, rising by 25% and 21% respectively.

“Embodied Ministry” Conference on Sexuality and Ministry: Register Now

We are seeing strong interest in our Theological Educators’ Group “Embodied Ministry” conference on gender sexuality and formation, but there are still some places available. Time however is running out: registrations can only be accepted until the 30th June. (For a list of speakers, and summary descriptions of their papers / workshops, follow this link)

CSCS Theological Educators’ Project Conference

EmbodiedMinistry flier

Bookings can still be made (until 30th June 2014), by printing and completing the form below and sending it with a cheque made payable to CSCS to:

Sharon Ferguson, CSCS Theological Educators Conference, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London, E2 6HG                Cheques must be received by 30th June 2014.

 

Booking Form

Name ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Address………………………………………………………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Post Code ………………………..         Telephone ……………………………………………….

e-mail ………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Denomination …………………………………………………..    Lay / Ordained / in Formation

 

Wednesday 9th July only

(non residential, inc. dinner)                                                        £40.00        £ ………..

 

Thursday 10th July only

(non residential, inc. lunch)                                                 £40.00       £ ………..

 

Wednesday and Thursday 9 -10 July

(non residential, inc. Wednesday dinner and Thursday lunch) £75.00       £ ………..

 

Wednesday and Thursday 9 -10 July

(Residential, inc. all meals and accommodation)                     £125.00     £ ………..

 

Donation for Bursary Scheme                                                       £ ………..

 

Total                                                                                               £ ………..

 

 

New Issue: “Theology & Sexuality”.

Just published is Volume 19, no 1.

Theology & Sexuality

8 Articles in this issue are:

You can view selected content online free of charge and also sign up for free table of contents alerts at www.maneyonline.com/tas

Members of CSCS (Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality) are able to include a reduced price subscription to the Theology and Sexuality journal, bundled with their society membership.

Catholic Bishops, on Transgender Equality

In a draft document on British equality legislation and its implications for the Catholic Church, is included a brief but important reference to trans equality.

At the catholic transgender, Anna Magdalena comments:

cbcew

On the subject of gender transition, The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales seems encouragingly positive. A year ago they released a draft of guidelines instructing Catholics on how far to comply with England’s Equality Act 2010, which will provide increased civil protection for a number of minority groups, including transsexuals. Their document says that:

Transsexual people face many difficulties before, during and after transitioning to another gender. As such it is recommended to seek guidance on how to make the transitional process as easy as possible. This could include training for co-workers, as well as reference to medical and social advice.

The implication of this quote seems to be that Catholics in Britain are expected to fully abide by the law’s prohibition of anti-trans discrimination, and more significantly to cooperate or at least be supportive of a transgender person in the process of transitioning.

Read the full text here.

New Ways Ministry has also reported on this document, and says about it

This may be the most positive and pastoral statement about transgender people to come from the Catholic hierarchy.  (If anyone knows anything equally or more positive, please let us know about it in the “Comments” section of this post.)  Let’s hope that it remains in place through the drafting process.

(In fact, nobody has yet noted in the New Ways comments section any evidence of anything similarly positive, from anywhere).

Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War: Church Leaders Speak.

In London this week, a Global Summit to end Sexual Violence in Conflict has seen participation by over 900 experts, NGO’s, survivors, and representatives of over 100 countries -as well as senior faith leaders, including Archbishop of Canterbury, as head of the Church of England, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, senior bishop for the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Archbishop Welby sent a video message, which you can watch below:

Continue reading Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War: Church Leaders Speak.

“To Have and to Hold” – Theology of Marriage Conference

A one-day conference on the theology of marriage in the light of equal marriage

London, September 27th 2014

Hosted by The LGBT Anglican Coalition

Recognising current unease in the Church of England over same-sex marriage, the conference will ask whether there is a theological basis for expanding the definition of marriage. If so, what might a theology of equal marriage include?

To Have and to Hold

Male AND Female God Created THEM

(Workshop to be presented by Revd Sharon Ferguson at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

What if you understand your gender as ‘both/and’ rather than ‘either/or’? Where do you find yourself in scripture? How are you represented in liturgy and worship? How can ministers ensure a person of non-binary gender identity is affirmed and welcomed into the worshipping community? This workshop will briefly outline some of the alternative ways to understand gender and how those who transgress the binary models of male/female struggle to find a place within the Church. The group will be encouraged to consider what for them is comfortable /uncomfortable about gender identity and the reasons why. We will also consider the gendered language we use in liturgy and worship and the issues of inclusion/exclusion that these may raise.

Sharon Ferguson
Revd Sharon Ferguson is the Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in North London, Co-President of the European Forum for LGBT Faith Groups, and was also the CEO of LGCM until the end of May 2014. In October 2014 Sharon will embark on a PhD researching the biblical and theological bases for understanding non-binary gender and its implications for the Church. Sharon is passionate about the inclusive love of God for the diverse world that God created.

Intersex and Formation

(Paper to be presented by Dr Susannah Cornwall at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

Concerns about intersex and identity are actually broader questions about identity which face all of us, and the process of thinking and working through one’s own sense of one’s gender and sex is likely to better equip one to help others in this part of their journey. In this paper I note some of the questions and challenges intersex candidates may face during selection, training and ministerial formation, before going on to explore some of the theological questions surrounding formation and identity more broadly.

Susannah Cornwall, Intersex and FormationDr Susannah Cornwall is Advanced Research Fellow in Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on constructive body theologies, and, in particular, the implications of intersex for theologies of sex, gender, sexuality, and theological anthropology. Her books include Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology (Equinox, 2010); Controversies in Queer Theology (SCM, 2011); and Theology and Sexuality (SCM, 2013).

Guided Examen

(Workshop to be presented by Revd Dr Brendan Callaghan SJ at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

This workshop takes the form of a guided Ignatian “Examen” – helping people reflect on where and how they encounter God in the sexual dimension of their lives. This will include an introduction from Brendan, followed by 20 minutes’ or so guided silent reflection, followed by a chance to share and discuss (as people are comfortable to), followed by a little plenary discussion.

Brendan Callaghan, Guided ExamenRevd Dr Brendan Callaghan SJ is Novice Director for the North-Western Europe Provinces of the Jesuits. In addition to his 30 years of academic work in psychology of religion, based at Heythrop College in London and Campion Hall Oxford, he has run numerous workshop courses on sexuality, both for retreat guides and for committed celibates at various stages of their lives.

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God-language in Public and Private

Prayer as a Place of Integrating Gender, Sexuality and Faith: A Workshop

(Paper to be presented by Nicola Slee at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

In this workshop, we will consider how praying with a range of images of God may aid the process of integrating gender, sexuality and faith (and, conversely, how the use of a limited range of patriarchal God-images can limit that work). We will explore a range of terms, images and metaphors for God drawn from Christian tradition, in scripture, hymnody, poetry and visual imagery, considering particularly how they represent gender and sexuality in God, and how that may relate to our own sense of ourselves as embodied, sexual, engendered beings. We will use creative writing as a tool to respond to some of these images for ourselves, as well as consider how we might offer a range of God-language to others, through the leadership of worship, spiritual accompaniment, teaching and ministerial formation.

Nicola Slee, God-language in Public and Private Prayer

Dr Nicola Slee is Research Fellow at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, and a well-known feminist practical theologian and poet. Her most recent publications are Making Nothing Happen: Five Poets Explore Faith and Spirituality (Ashgate, 2014), and The Faith Lives of Women and Girls (Ashgate, 2013).

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Promoting open and honest Christian discussion of sexuality and gender