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UK News

Church of England deemed 'laughing stock' over comments on civil partnerships

by Heather Preston

Members of the Anglican Church are inviting people to sign a letter to Archbishops stating that the Church of England has become a "laughing stock" following its recent comments on civil partnerships.

The Church of England's House of Bishops, which makes up one of the three Houses of the General Synod released a pastoral letter last week clarifying its position on sex outside of marriage after the a law instated in 2019 allowed people of the opposite sex to obtain a civil partnership, something previously only available to same-sex couples. 

The letter explains that church teaching on marriage reflects that sex should only be for a man and a woman within a marriage and not a civil partnership.

Some within the Church argue that the statement serves to further alienate the Church and damage its reputation with it's out of touch message. 

It comes after a previous report was released by the Church in 2017 entitled "Marriage and Same Sex Relationships" which also sparked division within the Church. 

A document condemning the Bishops' recent pastoral letter has been made available for those living in England or who are part of the Diocese in Europe to sign if they oppose the House of Bishops' declaration.

It was launched by four well-known Church of England members: Canon Peter Leonard, Christina Baron, Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain and Jayne Ozanne, who said they were "angered and disappointed" by the House of Bishops' "cold, defensive, and uncaring" pastoral statement.

It reads: "The pastoral statement makes clear there has been no desire to listen or learn from those of us who spoke to explain how offensive we found the tone of the House of Bishops' previous document [Marriage and Same Sex Relationships].  Indeed, this statement is anything but 'pastoral', it is cold, defensive, and uncaring of its impact on the millions of people it affects.

"The Church of England has this week become a laughingstock to a nation that believes it is obsessed with sex.  More importantly this statement has significantly damaged the mission of the Church and it has broken the trust of those it seeks to serve.

"We ask you to consider how we can, together, build a truly radically inclusive Christian Church."

Within two hours of being published the letter received over 300 signatures.

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