The Pastoral Principles

One of the tasks of the Pastoral Advisory Group has been to set out some principles of pastoral practice for how the Church of England can live well together within the parameters of its current position on marriage and the different deeply held convictions that individuals and churches hold on these matters. The outcome of this work has been the production of the Pastoral Principles for living well together.

The Pastoral Principles cards

As communities of Christians, we are held together in the love of Christ. Our many differences are gifts that can build us up in trust and mutual affection, or they can mar the image of Christ that we are called to reflect through our life together.

These Pastoral Principles cards are for you to use in your church community to examine afresh your life together. The focus relates to LGBTQI+ people, but they apply to all sorts of difference and diversity among God's people.

Each of the six principles has a card that describes the principle, offers some reflections and suggests some questions to ponder.

The House of Bishops commends them to the dioceses and parishes of the Church of England.

The Pastoral Principles course

The purpose of this course is to help church communities to examine afresh their life and learning together in the face of difference and diversity. It is based on the Church of England’s ‘Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together’. Although the Pastoral Principles were developed to encourage better inclusion of LGBTI+ people, they can be applied to other differences within our church communities.

In this course, we are invited to think about the things which impair relationships. The Pastoral Principles identify six ‘pervading evils’: prejudice, silence, ignorance, fear, hypocrisy and power. These ‘evils’ hinder our personal growth as Christians, hurt other people, and create barriers that stop our churches from growing into Christian communities of welcome and belonging. They are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. It is easy to see these ‘evils’ in others; the hard work is to see them within ourselves.

When there are strongly held differences among us, we are tempted to form like-minded groups or factions. Communities that become divided in this way is one of the greatest challenges for our Church and society today. We can all play a part in seeking unity in our Church as well as in the wider community. This course encourages us to find creative ways to grow and learn together in the love of Christ.

Each of the five sessions in this course is accompanied by a short film. These films are extracts from the Living in Love and Faith Course. They relate the Pastoral Principles to questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. However, this course can be used to explore any topic about which there are different views and experiences within a church community or group.

Video content

These films are extracts from the Living in Love and Faith Course. They relate the Pastoral Principles to questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.