Diocese of Newcastle

Church of England issues 'pastoral principles' for treatment of gay people

Fri 22 Feb 2019
By Alex Williams

Six new "pastoral principles" introduced by the Church of England aim to improve the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.

Presented to members of the Church's governing body on Thursday, they encourage people to hold respectful theological discussions and ensure churches are welcoming places.

The principles were created by the Pastoral Advisory Group, which concluded the Church had been "found wanting" in its welcome and treatment of members of the LGBTQ community.


The group, whose members include the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Rev Christine Hardman (pictured), called for a "change of culture".

Addressing bishops, clergy and lay members, Bishop Christine asked: "Can it be right that some with pastoral responsibility in the church are so often ignorant of what it is like to be LGBTI+?"

General Synod Twitter


"Can it be right for our church communities to have a policy, whether conscious or subconscious, of silence about matters relating to sexuality and gender?"

The principles urge people to be honest about their prejudice, "cast out" fear, offer courtesy and kindness to everyone and refuse to exploit power over others.

Wikimedia Commons


The advisory group identified "six pervading evils" which undermine good pastoral care in the Church of England; namely, "prejudice, silence, ignorance, fear, hypocrisy, prejudice and misuse of power."

Bishop Christine added: "Good pastoral ministry amongst LGBTI+ people can never happen in an environment where their presence or questions are intentionally ignored by those in church leadership.

CC Ludovic Bertron


"This will be perceived as putting their own reputational concerns before the needs of their people."

The advisory group was tasked with creating guidance which upholds current Church teaching, which holds that marriage is between one man and one woman.

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