RADICAL INCLUSION .UK

 

please do not erase our lives, our love, and precious parts of who we are

 

 
 

 

'Life shrinks or expands, in proportion to one's courage'

 

ABOUT - JUST SO YOU KNOW WHO I AM

 

 

 

Susannah Clark worked for 25 years, teaching in schools, before re-training in healthcare 10 years ago when she underwent gender transition. She is a registered nurse. She has been Anglican all her life and her spirituality is rooted in contemplation in the tradition of Francisco de Osuna. She is a member of a convent fellowship in Oxford, and the sisters there are a source of great help and guidance. She tries to live along a vocation of prayer. Over the past 3 years she has had valued and confidential correspondence with over 50 bishops, calling for 'Unity in Diversity' and the right of local churches to bless gay and lesbian relationships. She also regularly comments at 'Thinking Anglicans'. She defines herself as a mixture of the catholic, the evangelical, the charismatic, and the socially liberal. She deeply values the Church of England and its long tradition as a broad church. But in truth she is virtually a nobody and you probably haven't heard of her. She lives her life and she is next to nothing in the Church. And yet she's asking your help and courage. She knows how wonderful radical inclusion can be, for individuals, for communities. This is why:

Last year she was married to her wife Karina, on a day of such joy, and an Anglican priest held a public blessing service for 150 friends, relatives and church members, carried out in the form of a wedding with formal dress, reception in the Hall, and PCC involvement. His position was decent and heartfelt: "Your relationship is as precious as anyone else's. Why should I not bless your marriage?" He refused to make the blessing furtive and hidden. Here at radicalinclusion.co.uk Susannah argues the case for vicars and PCCs to be allowed to follow conscience like this priest did, and to find the courage to do so: knowing the grave harm being done to LGBT people here and now in the Church, the harm this does to the gospel message, and the sadness that so many couples don't get the unashamed joy and blessing given to her and Karina.

"I want you to know that you and Karina are gift to our church," the priest said. Given their insignificance and frankly unimportance, that was quite a bold statement which didn't feel deserved. Yet the experience of the wedding celebration spoke otherwise: the sense that the whole church community felt good in this inclusion, the sense of a community together, expanded in experience and understanding of what radical inclusion really means, and at the end of the day: basic decency, kindness and love. This should be the experience for all gay and lesbian couples, and more than that, for all church communities as they open and grow. It is shared givenness: givenness between the couple, givenness with the church community, givenness witnessing to relatives, and all that givenness in the presence of God who gave so completely to us all.

The Church needs to change, and it needs to change now, not in 5 years time or 10 years time... because very real harm is being done right here today. Will you, as a rector or vicar, or as a PCC-member reading this, or a member of a local church, find courage to be true to God-given conscience, and true to the grace and givenness of people who love each other, and dignify gay and lesbian people with real radical inclusion? Will you try to move the Church beyond furtive blessings that have to be kept quiet, and 'come out' as a church at least in your local community, and make inclusion bold, lovely, open, and unashamed?

Will you please do this survey? It just takes 2 minutes. And at the same time, pray for the Church, and your own local church, for one another's flourishing and kindness and ministries, even or especially those with different views and consciences to your own. It's time for the Church to respect that sincere conscience may be diverse, and (like Scotland) accommodate that. But in all this, we need the centrality of grace and love. We need to love one another, because that's the greatest commandment and the huge test of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interests: Writing novels and poetry, DH Lawrence, Jack Kerouac, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert, Shelley, Yeats, Catullus, Marcus Aurelius, Apetn, Gardens, Family History, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Delius, Vaughan-Williams, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Blues, Jimi Hendrix, Scottish and Irish Folk Music, Accordion, Space, Colonisation, Neurotech, AI, Alan Turing, Star Wars, Jedi, Darwin, Evolution, Cooking, Malt Whisky, Family, Friends, Picnics, Happenings, Uganda, Christian Aid, Football, Arsenal, Marathons, Receptivity, Nursing, Teaching, Dissidents, Anna Politkovskaya, the Wild Rose, the Prince of Wales, Neuro-Diversity, Lateral Thinking, Environment, Sustainability, Diversity, The Human Race, Lewis Carroll, Borges, Labyrinths, University of St Andrews, Mountaineering, Munros, Winter Mountains, Bothies, Greenland, Vikings, Ravens, Sith, Panentheism, Haecceitas, Neoplatonism, Kilmartin, Knoydart, 1745, Stuarts, Jacobites, The Road to the Isles, Laurie Lee, Joseph Conrad, Leonardo, Turner, Pre-Raphaelite Art, van Gogh, Elton John, Choir, Church Anthems, Benjamin Britten, Ken Russell films, Walkabout, Battlestar Galactica, Brideshead Revisited, Medieval Churches, 16th Century Spanish Church, Francisco de Osuna, Teresa de Avila, Therese de Lisieux, Cloud of Unknowing, Via Negativa, Poustinia, Convents, Contemplation, Prayer, Vocation, the Child Jesus, She Who Is, Baptism, Trinity, Eternal Household, Community, Mary, the Numinous, Sacrament, Givenness, Trust, Devotion, Liberation Theology, Alongsideness, Solidarity, the Common Good, Inter-Faith, Fundamentalism, the Bible, Book of Ruth, the sign of Jonah, Song of Songs, Psalms, Isaiah, Gospels, Letter to the Romans, Fundamentalism, Bible Themes, Lectio, Praise and Worship, Presence, Charismata, Broad Church, Grail, the Flowing Stream, the Love of God, Inclusion, Kindness, Pastoral Care, Unity in Diversity, Original Beauty, the Soul, Queerness and Marginality, the Book of Common Prayer, Adventure, Wasdale, Dance, Gaelic Placenames, Ruach, The Future, Rhythm, Mantra, and the Cloistered Garden of the Soul.

 

Two parallel sites have been created:

radicalinclusion.uk - the site you are visiting right now - is the 'quick read' version if you are in a hurry

radicalinclusion.co.uk is the in-depth site for reading more deeply on any section and to reflect further

 

~ click on any of the links below for more detailed versions of the pages available here in quick-read form:

Home - Radical Inclusion Project A - The Survey Questions - What Inclusion Means - The Harm Being Done - If Nothing Changes After LLF -

Oppressive Assault on Conscience - Top Down Control of the Agenda - Reasons for No Change - Change at Local Church Level -

Radical Inclusion Project B - Affirming the Church of England - Respect for Conscience - Rectors and Vicars Being Surveyed - Links - Lizzie Lowe