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Synod: Weddings

DESPITE an apparent change of mood in the Synod concerning the approach it wanted to take in the draft Church of England Marriage Measure, the revision debate was completed on Thursday morning.

The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd George Nairn-Briggs, asked the Synod to ensure that Clause 1, as amended, was carried. The Measure was the outcome of a long process, during which the Synod had sought that the range of places in which a couple could be married was extended.

Prebendary Colin Randall (Bath & Wells) said that in July there had been a simple Measure, and this had ended up as very complicated. Swearing a simple affidavit would simplify part of the process of eligibility.

The Synod voted that Clause 1 as amended should stand part of the Measure.

The Revd Mark Ireland (Lichfield) said that there was a note of unreality about the debate. The Church needed to say “yes” to engaged couples.

The Revd Dr Paul Roberts (Bristol) wanted more opportunity to use discretion rather than qualifying rights.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that an important characteristic of the Church of England was consistency. It was important that whichever parish a couple went to, they would know they would get the same treatment.

A further amendment seeking a Code of Practice was lost. The Synod voted on the other clauses, and the Measure was committed for further revision in committee.

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