Gay couples belonging to the Church of England will be able to take part in special services to bless their unions. Although they will not be formally weddings, some of their elements will resemble marriage ceremonies. The possibility of organizing religious services will be introduced for a trial period.
Homosexual couples belonging to the Church England will be able to take part in special services blessing their unions – said the largest Anglican church in a statement issued on Wednesday. The decision to introduce them was made during the General Synod of the Church of England, i.e. a meeting of the Church’s legislative body, organized that day.
Formally, these will not be weddings, but some of their elements, such as exchanging rings, saying a prayer for partners, obtaining the priest’s blessing, or throwing confetti, will resemble conventional marriage ceremonies in the Church of England.
Services for homosexual couples
The services are to be based on the collection of Prayers of Love and Faith, which – as the Church of England explains – is a collection of “prayers, readings and other materials for praying with and for same-sex couples who love each other and who desire give thanks for this love and mark it in faith before God.
As noted in the statement issued by the Church, the solution is currently implemented for a trial period, thanks to which the celebration of services blessing the unions of same-sex couples will be possible in parallel with the process of applying for their permanent approval. Although the General Synod did not decide when exactly it will be possible to start organizing services, it is expected to happen in the coming weeks, reports the BBC.
The Church of England announced its plan to introduce special services for homosexual couples at the beginning of this year. At that time, he also opposed allowing same-sex couples to contract religious vows, arguing that, according to the teachings of the Church, marriage is reserved for the union of a man and a woman.
The church’s decision on Wednesday was met with mixed reviews. The Bishop of Oxford, the Reverend Stephen Croft, who advocated changing the Church’s current position on homosexual relationships, said he was “delighted” with it. – I hope that (the services – ed.) will be accompanied by similar joy and similar confirmation (in relationships as in the case of marriages – ed.), and those who come to take part in these services will feel completely welcome seen in the life of the Church, he said.
Jayne Ozanne, an activist for LGBTQ+ people who sits in the General Synod of the Church of England, sees the introduction of services differently. She appealed to its representatives to change their position and allow homosexual believers to marry. – The Church of England remains deeply homophobic, regardless of what bishops and archbishops say. “I am afraid that a significant part of the nation will judge the Church as abusive, hypocritical and unloving, and unfortunately they will be right,” she said, quoted by the BBC.
The Church of England is not the first Anglican church to decide to introduce services blessing same-sex unions instead of allowing them to perform traditional weddings. A similar solution already exists in the Anglican Church Wales. Among the largest churches in Great Britain, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church allow same-sex couples to enter into a sacred marriage. Scotland.
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