It is fair to say that the General Synod of the Church of England is not the most radical of institutions. It is a moot point, however, as to whether last week’s debates lived up to that stereotype or not. While ponderous and overflowing with the minutiae of points of order and amendments, it seems the silent progressive majority, inch by inch, has moved the church closer to authorised services for the celebration of same-sex relationships.
Some of us recall that last February, in a historic change, the General Synod, our governing body, welcomed the prayers for the celebration of same-sex relationships that the bishops had prepared. Opponents, whilst pleased with the block on same-sex marriage (sadly it will take a 2/3 majority to achieve that change), have been enmeshed in abundant reactionary shenanigans since then, seeking legal loopholes to block progress, engineer artificial delays and prevent standalone services celebrating the covenanted love of a same-sex couple.
Credit is due to the endurance and tenaciousness of synod members for ploughing through the dryness of church legislation and ensuring that the closing proposal firmly keeps us on course for delighting in and celebrating same-sex relationships, without too much delay!
Please do continue to pray for our Synod members and the bishops who are charged with progressing and then implementing these new services. When the mechanism for ‘opting in’ to these services is finalized, we hope to be among the parishes that use authorised services for joyfully pronouncing God’s blessing over same-sex couples.
The Revd John Whittaker
The Revd Dr Daniel Trott
The Revd Jane Andrews
The Revd Helena Whittaker