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‘We are coming to listen’: Church of England gears up to discuss same-sex proposals

by Premier Journalist
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The Church of England will this week discuss proposals to bless same-sex couples in civil partnerships and marriages.

Speaking ahead of General Synod, the Bishop of London said the House of Bishops is ready “to listen” to the Church’s view on the proposals.

A five-hour debate is scheduled on Wednesday to refine the proposals put forward by the House of Bishops following the Living in Love and Faith process – the church’s internal debate on sexuality and gender identity.

Rt Rev Sarah Mullaly told BBC’s Sunday programme: “There is, probably for the first time in Synod, an opportunity for very detailed group work actually contributing their views both to the prayers as well as the pastoral guidance that we're producing.

“We want to listen to people's views, and we will take that away.”

Although Synod members can make amendments to the original proposals, the final vote will be on the amendments agreed upon rather than on the proposals themselves, meaning they cannot be voted down.

This has angered those opposed to the changes as they feel the House of Bishops is undermining the General Synod’s role in discussing and agreeing on decisions on the same-sex marriage issue.

But those campaigning for equal marriage in the Church are not happy either. For them, the proposals are 'breadcrumbs' and don’t go far enough in recognising that same-sex relationships are equally acknowledged and accepted.  

The issue of sexual intimacy has also been brought up.  While some bishops have said that gay sex is now allowed, others have urged people to wait for new pastoral guidance expected to be brought to Synod in July.

When asked about this particular issue, Bishop Sarah said the House of Bishops’ response is “silent” and that she expects it to be discussed during the group sessions this week.

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