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Evangelical film describes same-sex blessings as ‘devastating’ for gay people in the Church

22 July 2022


A shot from the CEEC film Are Services of Blessing for Same-Sex Couples a Possible Compromise?

A shot from the CEEC film Are Services of Blessing for Same-Sex Couples a Possible Compromise?

THE introduction of services of blessing for same-sex couples would be “devastating” for every gay person in the Church of England, a new video released by the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) says.

The film, Are Services of Blessing for Same-Sex Couples a Possible Compromise?, was released last week. It is the fourth part of a series, God’s Beautiful Story, which also includes the films How Important Are Our Differences? (News, 27 May), Can We Remain Silent?, and Starting the Conversation (News, 6 May).

The film says that a “frequently suggested way forward” is to give “formal permission” to clergy “to perform a service that affirms and celebrates same-sex unions”, without changing the Church’s doctrine on marriage.

Ed Shaw, a co-chair of the CEEC, says in the film that such a “compromise” would “make life horrible” both for him and other same-sex-attracted Christians, who held to traditional teaching on sexuality and were celibate, and for “those who want full acceptance of gay marriage in the Church of England”.

Mr Shaw says: “It’s going to say to those who want to be married in church. . . ‘You can’t be, and we might go as far as sort of slightly approving, but not really approving of what you do.’ And . . . it’s going to say to people like me, ‘You’re staying single, you’re staying celibate, but you don’t really need to; we would sort of half approve of you being in a same-sex sexual relationship.’ It’s going to be devastating for every single gay, same-sex-attracted member of the Church of England.”

Other speakers in the film warn against following the example of the Church in Wales, which passed a Bill to allow same-sex couples to have their civil partnership or marriage blessed in church (News, 10 September 2021).

The Revd Dean Roberts, an incumbent in the diocese of Monmouth, says: “People often try and separate blessing services and marriage services. But, in the Anglican Church, we express what we believe in our prayers and our liturgy in services.

“And so I suppose my question is, What really is the difference between a service of blessing and a marriage service? In Wales, it’s quite clear: there isn’t really a difference, because our service that we have in Wales includes vows and prayers for the couple, exchange of rings. And so I actually don’t think there is a difference.”


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