The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has described the latest decision to allow blessings for couples in same-sex relationships as “a lose-lose position for everyone in the Church of England”.
For the church’s evangelical wing, the move represents a direction of travel that “rejects our historic and biblical understanding of sex and marriage” and “deepens divisions and cause deeper hurt”.
On Thursday, the denomination’s legislative body decided to move forward with proposals to producer prayers of blessing and thanksgiving for clergy who wished to do acknowledge a couple in a same-sex relationship.
But the decision, seen by many conservatives as a departure from Scripture, has been met with dismay by many both in the country and in the Anglican Communion.
In a statement, the CEEC wrote: "This seems to us to be a lose-lose position for everyone in the Church of England.
“Those who wanted more change will continue to ask and push for greater change. Those of us who have been trying to uphold the historic and biblical understanding of marriage and singleness say change has gone too far.
“ This decision has settled nothing and has only served to deepen divisions and cause deeper hurt.”
The group said it will now work towards a structure that would maintain “the highest degree of unity within the Church of England”.
"We believe that putting in place new imaginative structures, ‘good differentiation’, is the only way we are going to be able to reach a settled outcome.”
Also “deeply regretting” the Church of England’s decision, the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), a group of conservative Anglican provinces, said the move goes against “the overwhelming mind of the Anglican Communion”.
“The Church cannot ‘bless’ in God’s name the union of same-sex partnered individuals, much less sexual relationships between same-sex persons which in God’s Word He declares to be sinful.
“The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury in leading the House of Bishops to make the recommendations that undergird the Motion, together with his statements, alongside the Archbishop of York, and the Bishop of London leading up to the General Synod, cause the GSFA to question his fitness to lead what is still a largely orthodox world-wide Communion.”