Anglican bishops have expressed their grief at the Church of England’s decision to trial “special standalone services” for blessing those in same-sex partnerships.
Under previous proposals, the services would have been authorised under a two-year long process, which would have required a two-thirds majority in each of the General Synod’s three Houses. Instead, Synod backed a proposal to fast-track trial services. The amendment required a simple majority to pass and succeeded in the House of Laity by just one vote.
In a statement, bishops of the Anglican Network in Europe spoke of their “deep sadness” at the Synod’s continuing rejection of Scripture, and promised to stand with faithful Christians within the Church.
The bishops lamented that “a majority at General Synod voted to continue to travel along a road that arrogantly rejects the authority of scripture, the historic teaching of the church from earliest times and the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.
“They have walked away from the life transforming grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
On behalf of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, Archbishop of South Sudan Justin Badi said: “We wholeheartedly support the faithful bishops, clergy and laity within the Church of England and assure them of our continuing prayers and pastoral commitment as a global body.”
Quoting the book of Revelation, he added: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
While the CofE Bishops are expected to discuss how to implement the services in the coming weeks, clergy are expected to be able to use ‘prayers of blessing’ in existing services as early as next month.
Following the Synod’s decision, the Church of England Evangelical Council has announced a series of temporary provisions to support orthodox evangelicals within the Church. The “Ephesian Fund” will allow congregations to financially support other churches that uphold biblical sexual ethics.