Evangelicals disappointed by Church of England Synod vote on same-sex blessings

Originally published in Christian Today

The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has expressed its “deep disappointment” at the General Synod’s vote to continue the process towards introducing standalone services of blessing for same-sex couples. 

Monday’s vote also saw the Church of England move closer to removing current restrictions on clergy being in same-sex marriages, with proposals to be brought to General Synod in February 2025.

Traditionalist Anglicans speaking during the debate warned of a breakdown in trust and the eventual split and decline of the Church of England. They also challenged the contention from the Church of England leadership that the plans do not amount to a change in doctrine.

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The motion was carried by only a narrow margin – bishops 22 for and 12 against; clergy 99 for and 88 against; and laity 95 for and 91 against.

John Dunnett, National Director of the CEEC, said: “Yesterday was a milestone in that standalone services have received General Synod support and a timetable to work towards clergy same sex marriages has been endorsed.

“It is deeply disappointing that despite hearing repeatedly in speeches of the need to build trust by avoiding bad process, and CEEC’s continued advocacy of the insufficiency of delegated arrangements, Synod passed the motion, and the Prayers of Love and Faith bus continues to move forward.”

The Church of England has said that traditionalist Anglican priests will not be forced to go against their conscience and that “delegated” oversight will be provided.

The CEEC and other traditionalist Anglicans say this is inadequate as the diocesan bishop would have to approve the delegation, and there is no guarantee that such an arrangement would not be changed in the future.

The CEEC said that it will continue working with the Alliance network of orthodox Anglicans towards structural reorganisation in the likely event that the standalone services come into effect.

Rev Dunnett continued, “The leaders of the Church of England seem intent on leading the church away from the biblical teaching and doctrine passed down through the centuries and shared by millions of Christians in the Anglican Communion today.

“We are committed to remaining within the Church of England and hope that the bishops will come to the table to negotiate an acceptable settlement.”

He added, “We dare to pray that even in these challenging times God will grant a revival harvest in this country.”

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