UNITED KINGDOM — (02-09-23) — The Church of England will now offer blessings to same-sex civil unions, after its General Synod voted in favor of the measure on Thursday. The  two leaders, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York,  made the announcement to the press on Thursday.

“For the first time, the Church of England will publicly, unreservedly and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church,” said the archbishops in a statement, while conceding that “the church continues to have deep differences on these questions.” They insisted the Church was “committed to respecting” those “for whom this goes too far.”

The Church of England’s leadership debated for two days on the measure that was initially introduced last month. The measure passed with 250 votes in favor and 181 against.

An amendment emphasizing that the church’s decision does not represent a divergence from existing Church doctrine, which does not permit same-sex marriage, was added during the process.

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said…“No one has to offer these services and no one will be disadvantaged if they don’t,” said Cottrell.

Bishops announced the result with a call for proposals for same-sex blessings, which will be outlined in a publication titled ‘Prayers of Love and Faith’ to be issued by the House of Bishops later this year after some editing.

The Synod’s compromise “falls short of what we ultimately believe is the only outcome for radical inclusion – equal marriage for all people,” said chair of the Church’s Campaign for Equal Marriage Nigel Pietroni.

The Evangelical Council lamented that the Church had rejected its “historical and biblical understanding of sex and marriage,” claiming that the vote had “settled nothing and has only served to deepen divisions.”

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches also responded by claiming that the Archbishop of Canterbury was not fit to lead.

The Church of England last month published a formal apology to the LGBTQ community for its previous “hostile and homophobic response” to same-sex couples, saying it repents for the “shameful” behavior.

House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt wrote to the bishops last month urging “parishes and clergy to conduct weddings for same-sex couples, or at a minimum, authorize blessings.”

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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