The power of story to challenge prejudice
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
2d ago
Warren Hartley, co-founder of the first Open Table community in Liverpool. PHOTO: Mark Loudon. THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND’s Living in Love and Faith process on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage has stirred up a lot for many LGBTQIA+ people in the last few years. Warren Hartley, LGBTQIA+ Ministry Facilitator at St Bride’s Liverpool where the first Open Table community began, reflects on his experience of the process, and a phrase in the debate which reveals a real problem: The debate on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage in the Church of England has been long, and toxic a ..read more
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Prayers of Love and Faith - An update from the Church of England’s General Synod
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
3w ago
AT GENERAL SYNOD, the Church of England's governing body, last month up to eight hours was timetabled for debate on Living in Love and Faith (LLF), its long running project looking at identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. During the five-day meeting at Church House in London, Synod members from the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity continued to review proposals agreed in February and November 2023 to enable clergy and churches who choose to do so to use Prayers of Love and Faith to bless same-sex relationships. Gill Ball, a member of the House of Laity for the Diocese of Chelmsfor ..read more
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This is my story: Becoming perfect
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
1M ago
‘This is my story’ is an occasional series of short devotions, based around the Bible, the experiences of Open Table members, reflection and prayer. This month, Alan Harbottle reflects on his search for Christian perfection and how he has learned to trust that he is good enough. Readings “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you ..read more
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The table and the hearts are open - Open Table Bradford's first birthday
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
1M ago
The beautiful home-made birthday cake for the Open Table Bradford community A YEAR AGO, the Open Table Bradford community began meeting in an LGBT+ community centre, the first to meet outside a church as no suitable church venue could be found. On Sunday 3rd March this year, Bishop of Bradford Right Revd Toby Howarth led a special celebration of Communion to mark the Open Table Bradford community’s first birthday. Bishop Toby reflected on Daniel 6:1-23 in the context of the debate at the Church of England’s governing body, General Synod, on prayers of blessing for same-sex relationships. He s ..read more
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Open to All: an art exhibition of God’s wide-ranging love
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
2M ago
Photo by Peter Jones. Artwork ©Elizabeth Gray-King Peter Jones, a trustee of the Open Table Network, recently visited the ‘Open to All’ art exhibition by Elizabeth Gray-King. The exhibition, in association with the Open Table Network, is on a national tour of cathedrals and church buildings in England and Wales until 21 July 2024. Here is Peter’s reaction to the experience. ‘How do you encapsulate that feeling of discomfort and also longing that can be found in the in-between?’ This was the central question in my mind when I encountered Elizabeth Gray-King’s ‘Open to All’ exhibition at Covent ..read more
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This is my story: Do not call unclean what God has made clean
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
2M ago
A neon rainbow (showing the six colours of the LGBT+ Pride flag) glows against a wall covered in written messages: Love is love, live and let love, love is a human right, support love, love wins. Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash “This is my story” is an occasional series of short devotions, based around the Bible, the experiences of Open Table members, reflection and prayer. This month, Richard Bibby-Brooke, an Open Table Wirral member, reflects on how God called him to serve, to love and be loved, despite Richard feeling he wasn’t good enough. Reading LISTEN TO Richard reading the reflection ..read more
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Finding God in lonely places - Rachel Mann's reflection for LGBT+ History Month
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
2M ago
Rachel Mann is an Anglican Priest, poet, writer and broadcaster. She is the author of Dazzling Darkness: Gender, sexuality, illness and God , a memoir of growing up transgender. She has written several other books, plus articles in the national press and for BBC radio. She is also a Patron of the Open Table Network [OTN]. WATCH her message to OTN [4 mins]. ON SUNDAY 4th February 2024, Open Table Cambridge hosted a celebratory service to mark the start of LGBT+ History Month and joined the Sunday morning congregation for a creative Communion service for the third year. 140 people gathered for ..read more
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Mission completed: Letting go
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
2M ago
Unreservedly and joyfully welcoming gathering for the Open Table Blackheath community's fifth birthday in January 2023 with OTN Director Kieran in the Open Table t-shirt. LAST MONTH the Open Table community in Blackheath, south London celebrated six years and met for the last time. On the anniversary of their first meeting in January 2018, they met to celebrate all that they had learned, acheived, and contributed to the spread of Open Table communities across Greater London. Revd Anne Bennett, vicar of the church which hosted the community, and Open Table Network trustee, shares her reflectio ..read more
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This is my story: God’s good gifts
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
3M ago
Silhouettes of hands against a sunset background, showing hope and mutual support, by Shuang Paul Wang on iStockPhoto ‘This is my story’ is an occasional series of short devotions, based around the Bible, the experiences of Open Table members, reflection and prayer. This month we hear from OTN Co-Chair Sarah Hobbs, on what it means to be truly authentic with God. Reading: LISTEN to Sarah Hobbs reading this reflection on our podcast [4mins]. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are ..read more
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God wants us all to keep the party going - Bishop of Liverpool reflects on the wedding at Cana
Open Table Network Blog
by Open Table Network
3M ago
Right Reverend Doctor John Perumbalath, Bishop of Liverpool, leading the Open Table communion service at St Bride’s Church. PHOTOS: Scarlett Valentine. ON SUNDAY 21st January 2024 Right Reverend Doctor John Perumbalath, Bishop of Liverpool led a celebration of communion at the first Open Table community in the city. He reflected on the story of the wedding at Cana, the first reported miracle of Jesus in John’s gospel [John 2:1-11] So this evening's Gospel reading is about a normal situation in a village context. You have a wedding party. As a host of the wedding party, probably head of the fa ..read more
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