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LLF bishops respond to fears of schism over same-sex relationships

25 January 2024

The Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, and the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow

The Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, and the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow

THE General Synod will be asked next month to commit to examining what legal safeguards and structures are needed to prevent opponents of blessings for same-sex couples from leaving the Church of England.

The co-lead bishops for the Living in Love and Faith process — the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, and the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow — write in this week’s Church Times that “a reset” is needed, and call for “reconciliation and bridge-building” between opposing factions.

The bishops, who have “differing views on relationships and sexual ethics”, will bring a set of “commitments” before the Synod when it meets at Church House, Westminster, next month, which are intended to “form the basis for a settlement that allows as many people as possible to remain within the Church of England”.

They write: “These commitments will honour the votes already taken by the Synod and the general sense of direction, while also inviting the whole of the Synod to make a commitment to the principle of being a broad Church in which different views are not just accepted but honoured as part of what it means to be the living, dynamic, and beautiful body of Christ.”

Furthermore, the commitments “will also commit us to a detailed examination of legal safeguards and appropriate structures that will enable as high a degree as possible of unity and communion in the Church, while providing the reassurance needed for those concerned by the changes. . .

“They also acknowledge that more time will be needed to agree the details of a settlement, while doing all we can to ensure that this is in place before the next elections to the Synod, thus ensuring that the elections are not shaped by this one issue alone.”

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