A report with proposals for new prayers and liturgy leave both sides disappointed.
Church of England clergy could soon be authorized to pray for God’s blessing over same-sex couples, though not quite affirming their unions as they would a marriage, according to a controversial paper set to be debated at an upcoming meeting of the church’s national assembly, General Synod. Services with liturgy to bless the couples wouldn’t take place until 2025.
In the 108-page document, bishops make the case for celebrating the “faithfulness, stability, fruitfulness, love, faith, grace” in same-sex relationships, with pastors “finding ways to help people move forward in holiness in a world that falls far short of ideals in every area, without giving up on the idea of the ideal altogether.”
They also speak of “acknowledging and celebrating what is good in same-sex relationships even if the Church is unable to commend every aspect of some relationships.”
The report is the latest development in a lengthy and often painful process of discernment for the Church of England as it grapples with deep internal disagreement about same-sex relationships in what it describes as a “rapidly changing social context.”
In February, after eight hours of debate, the General Synod voted to welcome proposals by the church’s bishops to issue prayers to bless same-sex unions in church. This update, issued ahead of November’s gathering, sets out how difficult the bishops are finding it to bring the proposals to fruition.
The new paper explores how the prayers might be approved under canon law, …