A support by The Church of England for a proposal that will permit congregations to bless same-sex unions while still holding to a traditional definition of marriage. This proposal includes plans for bishops to propose prayers for same-sex couples and for communities to welcome them joyfully.
As previously reported, the Church of England's proposals for same-sex unions and traditional definition of marriage was expected to be presented to the General Synod next month in London. These proposals were created following six years of listening as part of the Living in Love and Faith initiative.
Church of England Bishops to Apologize to LGBTQI+ Community for Negative Treatment and Call for Inclusion
According to The Church of England, the bishops of the Church of England will apologize to LGBTQI+ people for the adverse treatment they have received in churches and call on congregations to welcome same-sex couples "unreservedly and joyfully."
These recommendations, which come after six years of thought and discussion, will be laid out in a report that will be given to the Church's General Synod next month. The details will include sample prayers, referred to as Prayers of Love and Faith, that couples who have reached a crucial juncture in their relationships, like a civil union or civil partnership, may voluntarily utilize in churches.
Additionally, new pastoral guidance will be produced to replace the 1991 statement "Issues in Human Sexuality" for the discernment of vocation for clergy and cited 1 John 4.16, saying that we can rely on God's love for us and that God is love itself. It also states that when someone lives in love, they are living in God, and God is in them, according to BibleGateway.
The plan for the Church of England comes after a discussion on same-sex marriage and blessings at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world last year.
Still, they could have a service that includes prayers of dedication, thanksgiving, or God's blessing on the couple in the Church following a civil marriage or partnership. The prayers would be voluntary for clergy to use and could be used in different combinations reflecting the theological diversity of the Church.
The proposal will not change the Church's teaching on Holy Matrimony, which is defined as between one man and one woman for life. Same-sex couples would still not be able to get married in a Church of England church. Still, they could have a service that includes prayers of dedication, thanksgiving, or God's blessing on the couple in the Church following a civil marriage or partnership.
Church of England Develops a Proposal for Future Approach
According to Christian Post, The Church of England has apologized for its past treatment of LGBT-identified individuals, acknowledging the pain and cost caused by the Church's past actions.
The apology was made by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who is also the chair of a group of bishops responsible for developing a proposal for the Church's future approach to LGBT individuals. Mullally stated that the process has been complicated for all parties involved and that despite ongoing disagreement among bishops and within the Church, there is a strong desire to continue sharing life in Christ.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, also stated that multiple examples of rejection, exclusion, and hostility towards LGBT individuals within the Church informed the proposal. This apology comes in response to calls for the Church to change its doctrine on same-sex marriage and the recent announcement by lawmakers to draft a bill banning conversion therapy in England and Wales. The statement has been criticized by some who believe the Church is encouraging immorality.