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Online Learning Hub

Dealing with sensitive and complex questions of identity, relationships and sexuality, the resources available within the Online Learning Hub offer a variety of ways to learn, reflect and pray together.

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Living in Love and Faith

What is LLF?

The Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith (LLF) project seeks to be a ‘learning journey’.

LLF sets out to inspire people to think more deeply about what it means to be human, and to live in love and faith with each other.  It tackles the tough questions and the divisions among Christians about what it means to be holy in a society in which understandings and practices of gender, sexuality and marriage continue to change.

The LLF resources offer a variety of ways to learn, reflect and pray together about the sensitive and complex questions of identity, relationships and sexuality.


How will it do that?

At the heart of the project is a five-session course, which is shaped to encourage reflection, discussion with others, and feeding back.  It emphasises six ‘Pastoral Principles’ to enable honest speaking and respectful listening in as safe a space as possible.  All churches and all churchgoers are invited to participate, with feedback from discussions anonymized and collated at a national level.  The whole process is supported by a broad range of online and printed resources, including the LLF book, a set of podcasts, life story films and an online library for ‘going deeper’.


How might my parish engage with LLF?

The bishops will not prescribe how or when (or even if) you and your parish engage with this project – you know your parishes best.  Here is a list of resources which are available for you to pick and choose from as you wish; and below further details on each option.

 

Accessing the Online Learning Hub

There is an online learning hub which contains a wealth of information.  The links below all take you to this hub. To access most of the links below you first need to create a log in on the Online Learning Hub.  Once you have logged it is worth clicking ‘remember details’.  The following links should take you directly to the correct page, but it may be that they open a screen which says you cannot access as a guest.  In this case click ‘continue’ and it should bring up your remembered log on details, and you can then click ‘log in’ and the page you wish to view will open.

 

How to run your own course

The course is divided into five sessions and can be completed virtually or in person.  Each session of the course has written materials to read and think about together, a bible study, points for discussion and films to watch.  In addition there are podcasts which may be listened to following the session and suggestions of further reading if desired. 

  • Course booklets are required for each participant. Printed books are available to buy from Church House publishers, or a PDF of the booklet can be downloaded.  The bishops’ office has two hundred course booklets which will be sent free of charge to parishes on a first come first served basis (maximum of 10 per parish).  Funding is also available for parishes who would struggle to fund course booklets.  Please contact Alex Tolley if you are interested in either option.
  • Leaders' notes are available online, including introduction to leading a group. Leaders' notes for each session can be downloaded from the Online Learning Hub by going to the LLF course page and clicking ‘start here’.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a button which downloads the documents.
  • Story films are short five minute films of people from various backgrounds discussing how they are living in love and faith.
  • Sixteen podcasts are available.  These are each approximately forty minutes long and are of various bishops, clergy, medics and other experts discussing various issues relating to LLF.

 

Discussions around LLF will relate directly to profound aspects of people’s identity, lives and beliefs.  Strong personal feelings are involved.  It may be that not all of us are fully comfortable exploring and discussing such topics.  Please offer and encourage safe space for good and brave conversation – the course is designed with this as a high priority.  However it is for each person to choose whether, when and how they engage.  Guidance has been produced to help create a braver and safer space.

If at any point issues are raised of a safeguarding nature, please be in touch with the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.

The LLF project team have identified a series of commitments for learning and meeting which are also detailed in the front of the course booklet, such as holding each other before God in prayer, and keeping confidential anything personal which is shared.

For those who wish to read more deeply around the subject there is a dropdown in the Online Learning Hub to an online library under ‘Further Resources’.

 

Using the online course videos

Rather than leading the course fully yourself, there are videos available.  These could either be used individually or as a group. 

A few thoughts before starting a discussion about LLF in your church

  • Think about a course leader who can enable a good conversation, even if there may be some disagreement.
  • What does a braver and safer space look like for your church? Will you partner with a church from a different tradition?
  • Will you meet over zoom, or meet in a covid-safe way in person? Some may find being in their own home an easier way to deal with potentially challenging materials, while for others it may be more important for everyone to be in the same room.
  • How will pastoral support be provided for those who find the conversations difficult? Remember there is an LLF Chaplain available to help.

 

Parish Principles Course

The Pastoral Advisory Group has been tasked with producing a set of pastoral principles to help the church discuss LLF.  These principles can also be used to discuss other topics.  The following link takes you to The Pastoral Principles page on the Church of England website which you can buy or download the pastoral principles cards and course booklet.  At the bottom of the page there are videos relating to the course.

If your parish or benefice would need help funding the purchase of the cards or booklets please be in touch with Alex Tolley.

 

The LLF book

There is a rather weighty book which examines Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage in far greater depth.  This book can be purchased from Church House publishing, or downloaded 

Guidance has been produced for those who might value looking at this book as a book club.

 

Giving feedback

The purpose of LLF is to inspire people to think more deeply about what it means to be human and to live in love and faith with one another. The diocese and the national church would like to listen to the reflections and experiences of those engaging with the LLF resources.  Feedback will be an important part of the learning and listening process that will enable the bishops and members of General Synod to discern a way forward for our Church during 2022.  There are three ways to provide feedback. 

  1. Through a survey, which is anonymised, though it does ask a person’s diocese in order to allow dioceses to see the responses from their own clergy and laity.  This allows the local diocese to see the responses from their own clergy and laity. A log on to the learning hub is not needed to complete this survey.
  2. The LLF project is also inviting a creative response from those who wish.  A creative response can be anything you might like – it could be a photograph of your group, a poem, a drawing, a picture of a cake you have baked.  The sky really is the limit for this.  We appreciate this type of response will not appeal to all, but there are others who may feel drawn to respond in such a manner.
  3. The final way to respond, should you prefer, is simply to email your reflections to Alex Tolley, who will either share them with the senior staff, or with the national project as you prefer.

 

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LLF Advocate and LLF Chaplain

There is support available in the diocese to help you and your church engage with LLF.  Alex Tolley is the diocesan LLF Advocate and can be contacted at alex.tolley@peterborough-diocese.org.uk.  If you wish, she would be interested to hear what your plans are to discuss LLF; or happy to help if you are stuck with the process at all.

There are chaplains available to speak to anyone who may be finding this process difficult.  Please be in touch with the Revd Canon Tim Alban Jones if you wish to speak to someone.

 

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Engaging with youth

The course materials are intended for those over the age of eighteen.  However it may be that you wish younger people to become involved in this discussion. There are some resources available here to help guide you through this. Our Director of Children and Youth, Canon Pete White, can also offer guidance.

 

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What’s the timing

The church-wide engagement period is due to end on 30 April 2022.  The bishops are well aware of the magnitude of other issues which are currently facing us.  It would be great if at least some of your church could engage with these materials. 

 

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