The Church of England’s House of Bishops has agreed to commend Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples.
The controversial prayers ask for God’s blessing for same-sex couples.
The Church of England is moving forward with plans to introduce the prayers after they were backed by its parliamentary body, the General Synod, in February.
The bishops met in London to discuss next steps and also agreed that structures for special services for same-sex couples based on the prayers should go forward to be formally authorized under canon law.
The proposals are to be considered at the next Synod in November, as is new pastoral guidance on how the system will operate.
Once approved, the proposals will pave the way for a process leading to the authorization of the services under Canon B2.
Dioceses will be consulted on this process before it is put to General Synod, most likely in 2025, with the plans requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who co-chaired the steering group which has brought the proposals forward, said: “The House of Bishops’ decisions today continue to implement Synod’s vote to recognize publicly the commitment of same-sex couples and to pray God’s blessing for them.
“They have agreed to commend Prayers of Love and Faith and also considered the best way to authorize special standalone services. Having carefully considered the legal, theological and pastoral implications of possible approaches, the bishops concluded that it would ultimately be clearer to proceed directly to consideration under Canon B2.
“We acknowledge that there are some who would like this process to move faster, however, the move to full authorization will provide clarity and wide consultation ahead of a final decision by synod in 2025.
“I know that for some, these measures go too far and, for others, not nearly far enough and the bishops discussed the need for pastoral reassurance, and for some the need for formal structural pastoral provision.
“But the heart of the gospel is reconciliation — our desire is to remain together as one Church in our uncertainty, finding ways to live well with our different perspectives and convictions.”
Originally published at Christian Today.
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