Church of England supports blessings for same-sex couples in narrow vote

The governing body of the Church of England has decided to support trial services for blessing same-sex couples.

Although the CoE maintains its stance against same-sex marriage, adhering to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, it acknowledges the need to foster a more inclusive environment.

In January, the church issued an apology for the “hostile and homophobic response” that some individuals from the LGBTQ community had experienced.

On the evening of November 15, the Church’s governing body narrowly approved the blessing of same-sex couples. After extensive debate, the vote concluded that trial services for such blessings should be implemented in the near future, with no specific date mentioned by the Church of England.

Final approval for the prayers in these services is still pending from the bishops, emphasizing that these trials do not constitute a definitive, established church policy. Despite progress, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Welby, acknowledged lingering divisions within the Church.

“I abstained … because my pastoral responsibility extends to everyone in the Church of England and global Anglican Communion,” he said in a statement published on Thursday, Nov. 16. 

A conservative group of Anglican church leaders in Uganda, Rwanda, Brazil and other countries declared in April that it no longer had confidence in Welby over his stance on same-sex unions. 

The vote, which came after nine hours of debate among bishops, clergy and laity that make up the General Synod, agreed the trial standalone services would be based around texts known as “Prayers of Love and Faith”. 

Those were a collection of prayers, readings and other resources for a same-sex couple “who love one another and who wish to give thanks for and mark that love in faith before God,” the church said.

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