Bishop Graham responds to General Synod vote on Living in Love and Faith
9 February 2023
The Church of England’s General Synod has welcomed proposals which will enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing.
Synod members also voted to ‘lament and repent’ of the failure of the Church to welcome LGBTQI+ people and for the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced, and continue to experience, in churches.
A motion which details and recognises a series of proposals put forward by the bishops on human identity and marriage was agreed by majorities in the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity after a landmark debate over two days.
Earlier this week Synod members also met in small groups to consider and comment on a set of draft texts known as Prayers of Love and Faith, which could be used voluntarily in churches for couples who have marked a significant stage of their relationship such as a civil marriage or civil partnership.
Synod’s comments will now guide the bishops as they refine those texts carefully and prepare new pastoral guidance for the Church on sexuality and marriage in the coming months before the prayers are formally commended for use in churches.
The Bishop of Norwich, Bishop Graham says;
I welcome that the General Synod of the Church of England has accepted the proposals of the House of Bishops which in time will enable same-sex couples to come to many of our churches in Norfolk and Waveney for prayers and a blessing after a civil marriage or civil partnership. The House of Bishops’ sincere apology to LGBTI+ people about the way they have been treated was also welcomed by Synod.
The correspondence and conversations around these proposals have often been hard and challenging, with a range of deeply held views expressed. I am committed to working with other bishops to reflect on what we have heard and bring forward the pastoral guidance, including how we guard the conscience of individual clergy, and refine the Prayers of Love and Faith. My care and concern is for all as we seek to live together in the diocese, always using the language of grace.