Fresh Streams leadership statement following summer theology school
The leadership team at Fresh Streams has released a statement highlighting points of agreement following the 'engaging and positive' theology school the network hosted in June. It was the fourth year Fresh Streams has hosted its theology school, and this year's subject was human sexuality
In its August email, Fresh Streams stated:
'It was a joy to host our fourth Theology School in Stafford in June when we looked at the subject of ‘Human Sexuality'. Feedback has been incredibly positive.
'Looking at this from both sides of the argument, there was a full house of 120 delegates engaging openly and graciously; we heard powerful and honest stories, had excellent sessions on what the scriptures say, and how we might hold this conversation in our churches.'
Fresh Streams, a predominately but not exclusively Baptist word and spirit network, is in conversations with a couple of Associations on how it might partner with them to hold similar conversations on this theme, the email continued.
'We believe that being involved in these conversations is best done "face-to-face" with a strong relational context and if we can help facilitate further opportunities for these conversations to happen then drop us a line to see how this might be done.'
The Fresh Streams leadership team also felt it should offer the following five declarations 'which embody our points of agreement' that emerged from the gathering in June.
'Our hope is that they will serve the ongoing conversations, especially with regard to the relationship between our network of churches and our LGBTQ+ Christian brothers and sisters.
'We offer these declarations with humility and a desire to encourage and serve God’s loving purposes in the world. We pray that we may all remain committed to listening well, thinking deeply and serving together in these turbulent, challenging but also opportune days.'
The five declarations and the wider statement, can be found below, or online here.
A Statement from the Fresh Streams Leadership team
Following on from our engaging and positive Theology School on human sexuality, which we hosted in Stafford in June 2022, the National Leadership Team of Fresh Streams felt we should offer the following declarations that emerged from that gathering which sets out our position. Our hope is that they will serve the ongoing conversations, especially with regard to the relationship between our network of churches and our LGBTQ+ Christian brothers and sisters.
The present leadership team of Fresh Streams hold varying views, as the six of us are at differing places in our understanding on this matter, however, we’ve come to see that, whilst each of us has strong convictions about our personal viewpoint and interpretations of scripture, it in no way undermines our relationship with each other nor does it affect the unity and our commitment together as a team.
The following five declarations embody our points of agreement:
We agree that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, recognising that our Lord andSaviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and is the final arbiter on all matters of faith and practice. However, in keeping with our historic Baptist tradition, we recognise that each person or church may interpret the scriptures differently. We believe that while this matter is of importance, it is not an issue that would prevent us from being in covenant relationship with one another.
We agree that it is a matter for each church and missional initiative in the Fresh Streams network, as led by the Holy Spirit and in line with the Baptist Declaration of Principle, to discern the mind of Christ and reach their own position on this matter. We affirm that whatever position churches come to, they will continue to be more than welcome within Fresh Streams.
We agree that it is a matter of deep regret that conversion therapy has caused considerable harm. It is wrong and needs to be challenged and stopped.
We agree and are deeply saddened that our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters have been treated in homophobic, unloving, and ungodly ways within some evangelical/charismatic churches, and for this we are truly sorry.
We agree that it is possible, though difficult, and only then by the grace of God, to continue in joyful fellowship and covenant relationship in the same church with those who, through their own process of reflection and discernment, and as a matter of good conscience, in seeking God, reading Scripture and being open to the Spirit have come to a different place in their thinking than our own.
Continuing our desire to be a movement informed by the Word and inspired by the Spirit we exist in order to equip, inspire, connect, resource, and give courage to leaders and leadership teams as we serve together our churches and communities.
We offer these declarations with humility and a desire to encourage and serve God’s loving purposes in the world. We pray that we may all remain committed to listening well, thinking deeply and serving together in these turbulent, challenging but also opportune days.
Yours in Christ
The Fresh Streams Leadership Team:
The Revd Andy Glover
The Revd Amy Wearing
Mrs Ali Summers
The Revd Pete Everitt
The Revd Adrian Semerene
The Revd Mark Elder