CofE House of Bishops Agrees to Endorse Prayers for Same-sex Couples: In a historic move, the House of Bishops of the Church of England has agreed to commend Prayers of Love and Faith for same-sex couples.
The decision to commend the prayer which seeks to ask for God’s blessing for same-sex couples comes after the decision was backed by the church’s parliamentary body, the General Synod, in February.
After a meeting held in London, the House of Bishops 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 proposal will be discussed at the General synod in November. If approved, the prayers could be authorized for use in 2025.
The new prayer will not be compulsory but will be available to clergy who wish to use them. The prayer will be for use in both private and public settings and will be available in both traditional and contemporary languages.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who co-chaired the steering group that has brought the proposals forward was quoted by Christian Today as saying: “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 the 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.