*** DEBUG END ***

Synod members invited to apply to join LLF working groups

08 March 2024

Geoff Crawford/Church Times

The General Synod meets in Church House, Westminster, last month

The General Synod meets in Church House, Westminster, last month

MEMBERS of the General Synod have been invited to apply to join three working groups to draw up proposals for the remaining elements of the Living in Love and Faith project (LLF).

The LLF lead bishop, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, has written to Synod members about the next steps after last month’s debate.

Although the Synod moved to next business, and so decided not to vote on Bishop Snow’s motion, he sensed, he said, that there was a way forward to resolve the deadlock over the Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF).

Three new working groups were being formed to decide how to proceed on the three remaining open questions. The first would draft the new pastoral guidance on whether gay clergy will be permitted to enter into civil same-sex marriages.

The second would draft a settlement for conservatives unable to accept the PLF, amounting, Bishop Snow wrote, to “the minimum structural provision that is both necessary and proportionate”. And the third group would agree how the stand-alone services of blessing for same-sex couples could be authorised or approved.

Each group of Synod members would be chaired by a bishop, as yet unnamed.

“As suggested by one speaker at Synod, these groups will not involve just the ‘usual suspects’, but rather be a wide-ranging group of people who have not necessarily engaged extensively in the LLF process up to now,” Bishop Snow wrote.

This did not preclude anyone who had previously been on another LLF committee or group, but the Bishop said that he was keen to hear from new voices, including those who had not read or used the other LLF resources.

Each working group will be expected to meet at least three times in the coming months, before bringing back concrete proposals to the Synod in July.

Overseeing the work will be a new “programme board”, composed of Bishop Snow, the bishops convening the working groups, and senior Church of England national staff.

At the Synod, Bishop Snow conceded that he had been unable to persuade any of his colleagues from the House of Bishops to step up and co-lead LLF with him.

His original co-lead bishop, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, resigned in February, expressing concern over the appointment of a new theological adviser to the House (News, 2 February).

Any Synod member who wished to join the groups is invited to send a short application by email by next Wednesday. Membership of the groups would be public knowledge, Bishop Snow said, in aid of full transparency.

Two permanent groups will also be established, as previously promised by the House of Bishops after the commendation of the PLF late last year.

A pastoral consultative group, made up of bishops, supported by “consultants”, will help to answer questions arising from dioceses and bishops as the PLF are rolled out.

An independent review panel will also be set up to hear complaints and concerns about the implementation of the PLF and pastoral guidance. The panel will be made up of people “with a range of theological positions and professional experience”, Bishop Snow writes.

“I am under no illusion that the challenges facing us remain significant, but I believe these can be addressed through prayer and good conversations.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)