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C of E should follow Welsh lead on same-sex blessings says bishop

by Donna Birrell

The Anglican Bishop of Liverpool says the vote by the Church in Wales to allow blessings in church for same-sex couples could pave the way for the Church of England to follow suit.  

Responding to the vote passing earlier this week, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes said: "I am heartened and encouraged by this vote and by the conversations that led up to it.

"The Church in Wales has looked seriously at its missional context and has chosen to affirm love, in the spirit of the unchanging God of love whom we know in Jesus. I trust that my own Church will follow this creative and Gospel-inspired lead, and I hope that this will happen soon."

On Monday, the Church in Wales voted with a two-thirds majority among clergy and laity to allow same-sex blessings to take place after a marriage or civil partnership has taken place outside the church. All Bishops were in favour.

Bishop Paul, who's due to retire in February 2022, is an advocate of a more 'inclusive' church and earlier this year said he wanted to 'see an end to LGBTQ+ people hiding who they are for fear of being exposed to conversion therapy or being forbidden to minister in churches.'

He's also called for a 'gender-neutral marriage canon'.

The Church of England does not recognise same-sex marriages, forbids clergy to bless same-sex unions and only allows celibate gay and lesbian clergy to minister.

The Church of England is due to debate House of Bishops' proposals for a way forward on the Church's approach to same-sex relationships at a meeting of its General Synod next year. 

The vote in Wales has caused division among the Church.

Expressing his disappointment over the result, Rev Josh Maynard told Premier: "I think the message is clear from other churches across the Anglican Communion, that a vote in favour on this issue leads to a split in the denomination. That seems to have been what's happened consistently in every part of the Anglican Communion that's voted this through."

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