A more sustained conversation has been initiated with regards same sex relationships following the session at Baptist Assembly. For some this will be long overdue. The discussion at Baptist Assembly set the tone for a generous and open conversation and the prayer must be that we will continue in that spirit.
Churches are being encouraged to take up the offer of the Union's human sexuality training - a one day workshop run by a trained facilitator which engages with scripture, theology, science and pastoral care.
It is excellent to see that the Baptist Minister's Fellowship is organising a conversation day in July for Baptist ministers to take part in.
The best starting point, I have found, in this conversation is a sermon by Sam Wells preached back in 2004 and subsequently published in Speaking The Truth (Abingdon, 2008). Sam Wells has given me permission to make it available here as a .pdf download.
In this sermon, Wells helpfully outlines (the) four approaches taken to same sex relationships, what he terms holiness, kingdom, pastoral and liberation. He attempts to describe each approach and highlight its strengths and weaknesses. He argues that all four have a biblical basis.
Most often the debate is between the holiness and liberation approaches, but increasingly it is the pastoral approaches that is shaping the conversation, that certainly seemed to be what emerged in the language from the feedback given at the Assembly's discussion.
Wells wants to make space for all four approaches, each with something important to offer and the important challenge is we keep talking, with an openess to listen to others.
I suggest that Well's sermon is an excellent starting point for both ministers and churches.