Living in Love and Faith 3: Relationships

Session 3:  Relationships
For the third session of the LLF course we looked at relationships.   The evening focused on: 

·         understanding how friendships and marriage have their roots in the Bible and Church
·         exploring different views on friendship, civil partnerships and marriage in the Church and society today
·         relating compassionately and respectfully to people who have different views to ourselves on relationships and marriage.

As for the other weeks the evening was guided by a video which tied the sections together and informed us to help with our discussions.   

We started by looking at the third pastoral principle of  the Church of England: Respect of others and acknowledging where there is prejudice.  The video explained how prejudice can make us very selective about who befriend or even accept within our church communities.  However, if we look to Jesus, we can see that he spent time with the despised Samaritans and Tax collectors showing compassion, being respectful and welcoming them although it made him unpopular with others.

We then watched a story film of a married couple, Laura and Ben, who have two  young children who shared their thoughts about marriage and friendship, especially since an illness which meant Ben was unable to use his legs and now was dependent on a wheelchair.   They talked about the changes that had happened in their relationships after Ben had lost his job as a chef and the hardships that had followed.  Laura described the friendship and help she had received from her church family.  In small groups we discussed what made a good friendship and two words in particular emerged: Love and trust.
The Bible study was based on the Matthew 19:1-12 which tells of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees question concerning the legality of divorce.  Over tea and biscuits, a discussion followed about what struck us about the passage  and how its teaching helped us in our discussions about  relationships and friendship. It was generally felt that we needed to consider the context of Jesus’ response and the status that many women had at that time compared to the present.  It was agreed you could not have a rule or belief set in stone especially if there was violence or abuse in a relationship, or children were not safe. Also mentioned was that some relationships just break down and people drift apart, sometimes not noticing till it’s too late.
The last story video introduced us to Julie and  Alice who are living together in a longstanding relationship which grew out of friendship. Both worship together at a church in our denary, Julie as a Reader (Licensed Lay Reader) and Alice as a verger and spoke of the deep love and trust that had grown between them and the extent of God’s love they felt in their lives.  A discussion followed about relationships, marriage and the church, including same sex relationships and marriage. 
 The session ended with a prayer.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may overflow more and more
with knowledge and full insight
to help you to determine what is best,
so that on the day of Christ
syou may be pure and blameless,
having produced the harvest of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God
Everyone was asked to note what they had gained from the session or their thoughts about this or future sessions or any questions they might have. Here are a few :
“ Tolerance and Kindness”
“Love conquers all!”
“Don’t know all the answers but I keep thinking…”
“The church can’t remain rooted in the past. It needs to reflect the present or it will be seen as irrelevant and left behind”
“I think that same sex marriages should be blessed by the church , otherwise they are being discriminated against. Human Rights!”
“To move forward we must redefine marriage”
“ Everybody should be able to marry in God’s house”
“Thought provoking”
Want to explore session 3 further? Download the LLF book* and  look at Chapters 2,3,5,7,9,10,12,13,16  and scenes 1,2  or watch Podcasts 2,9
*Resources for the course can be found via
We now have a week’s break and the
Next session focusing on Sex, sexuality and relationships will be at All Saint’s Church Hall , Weston on Thursday 3rd March, starting at 7:30. All are welcome.

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