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Hope and dismay at Synod’s move towards stand-alone blessings for same-sex couples

10 July 2024

Sam Atkins/Church Times

Members listen to a presentation on the proposals from the lead Bishop for Living in Love and Faith, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, on Monday

Members listen to a presentation on the proposals from the lead Bishop for Living in Love and Faith, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, on Monday

TWO prominent umbrella groups have given their response to the General Synod’s decision to endorse plans for stand-alone services of blessing for same-sex couples and delegate episcopal ministry for opponents to the changes (News, 8 July).

Together for the Church of England, an organisation that speaks for a number of groups promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion, welcomed the vote, and pledged to continue engaging in the process of refining the detail of the proposals.

The statement expressed hope that those who opposed the changes would likewise continue to engage “with honesty and kindness, as they have so far, in order that we may seek together for the welfare of the whole Church of England”.

By contrast, the national director of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), Canon John Dunnett, said on Tuesday that it was “deeply disappointing” that the motion had been passed, “despite hearing repeatedly in speeches of the need to build trust by avoiding bad process, and CEEC’s continued advocacy of the insufficiency of delegated arrangements”.

He repeated calls for the structural reorganisation of the C of E, and warned that the Synod’s decision would lead to unilateral action being taken to create a “de facto parallel province” (News, 27 June).

“We are committed to remaining within the Church of England, and hope that the bishops will come to the table to negotiate an acceptable settlement,” Canon Dunnett said.

After the debate on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury had said: “The only way forward is a watertight and enduring protection of conscience. We are now at the point of seeking to work out how that works; it must give those of all views a place as treasured and flourishing parts of the Church of England, and the protection must have teeth to protect against harassment and bullying.”

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