Church of England General Synod considering approval of blessing prayers for same-sex couples

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Among other items on its agenda, the Church of England’s General Synod is currently considering whether to allow clergy to voluntarily perform prayers of blessings for same-sex couples in church, Christian Today reports.

The General Synod is meeting at Church House in Westminster, London from Monday through Wednesday this week.

The majority of the Synod’s bishops have approved the prayers, known as the Prayers of Love and Faith, CT reports. The prayers would be used only by those clergy who choose to bless same-sex couples in church.

Eleven bishops have dissented from approving the prayers, including among them the Bishop of Blackburn, Philip North, the Bishop of Lancaster, Jill Duff, the Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, and the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

Addressing the Synod at the start of this week’s meetings, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said he supported an amendment that would provide legal protection for clergy who choose to utilize the prayers, CT reports.

“There will need to be some sort of provision. But just as the way forward that is being proposed is pastoral, and in my view does not mean a change in the Church of England’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony, so I believe the reassurance and provision that we need should be pastoral,” Cottrell said.

“Something that allows standalone services for an experimental period seems to me to be a sensible and pastoral way forward. It gives clergy and parishes who want to use the Prayers of Love and Faith the legal protection they need,” Cottrell added.

“And because this will be on an opt-in basis, clergy and parishes who in good conscience won’t use the prayers will be under no compunction or compulsion so to do, nor will they be disadvantaged in any way by their decision,” he asserted.

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