At least 2,000 Anglican church leaders have signed a new declaration opposing the Church of England's decision to bless same-sex couples.
Organised by The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), the Declaration sets out four changes in the denomination which they will feel “compelled to resist” should they be implemented in the upcoming General Synod.
These include providing liturgical services for non-marital sexual relationships, allowing clergy to be in such relationships, providing pastoral guidance that deviates from the Church's doctrine on marriage, and changing Canon B30 so that it no longer affirms marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman, excluding all others.
For the group, any of these actions “deny the authority of Scripture” and “depart from the received historic understanding of the Church”.
John Dunnett, the CEEC’s director of strategy, told Premier Christian News the initiative is a national effort to show the House and College of Bishops “the breadth or the depth of conviction against these proposals”.
“The point of this declaration is simply to enable people to have a voice and to say, ‘I feel compelled to resist’. And we are generating conversations in several other places about what that means in practice.
“We are already with our diocesan evangelical fellowship - the kind of the grouping in each diocese that brings evangelicals together- saying to our bishops, ‘well, if you insist on putting these prayers through, you're going to undermine the relationship we have with you, you're going to make it very difficult for us to work in our deaneries’…and so what are you going to do about all the problems that you will introduce? And how are you going to help us navigate through them? So all of that conversation is also happening. The declaration is not meant to cover all of that.”
The document has sparked criticism from those who do agree with the Church of England’s current direction of travel and have accused the CEEC of using “aggressive” language while undermining the work of the Living in Love and Faith process.