Tensions are high at this week’s General Synod, with leaders on both sides frustrated with the suggested compromise on same-sex marriage.
This coming week promises to be one of the most historic—and controversial—in the life of the Church of England, as its governing body, General Synod, heads toward a resolution of a long debate over blessings of same-sex couples.
After years of wrangling over how the church should deal with homosexuality, its bishops announced in mid-January that they would not agree to same-sex marriage but were prepared to bless civil unions. They followed with an apology for the way that LGBTQI+ people were treated by the Church of England.
Beginning Monday, the three voting houses of bishops, clergy, and laity will discuss and vote on the proposals in an all-church body known as Synod.
The deepest split on the issue has been between evangelicals vehemently against moving away from what they call the biblical concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman and those campaigning for full equality, who are frustrated by the bishops’ willingness to recognize their mistreatment of LGBT members while being unwilling to offer them marriage.
Also frustrated are members of the House of Commons advocating for the established church to endorse marriage for same-sex couples, which has been legal in England and Scotland since 2014. (Northern Ireland followed in 2020.) Last week 14 MPs met with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to express dismay at what they see as the church’s lack of equality.
The debate has grown so tense as Monday’s meetings begin that facilitators have been hired to help navigate the discussions.
The current proposal for blessing new civil unions and praying for those already in them comes after a six-year discussion project within the church, called Living in Love and …