Pastoral Guidance from the C of E concerning Same Sex Marriage

Archbishop Justin Welby, General Synod, 18 Nov 2013The Church of England House of Bishops has issued a Letter and Statement offering Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

We write as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ who are called to love one another as Christ has loved us. Our vocation as disciples of Christ in God’s world is to hold out the offer of life in all its fullness. God delights always to give good gifts to his children.

The gospel of the love of God made known to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest of these gifts. The call of the gospel demands that we all listen, speak and act with integrity, self discipline and grace, acknowledging that as yet our knowledge and understanding are partial.

As members of the Body of Christ we are aware that there will be a range of responses across the Church of England to the introduction of same sex marriage. As bishops we have reflected and prayed together about these developments. As our statement of 27th January indicated, we are not all in agreement about every aspect of the Church’s response. However we are all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged. …”

Updated with these comments:

“Anglican Mainstream appreciates and affirms the clear and unequivocal statement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged. We are grateful for the assurance that the idea of same sex marriages being solemnized in C of E churches in future is not supported by the Bishops. …”

Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream.

“… The credibility of this pastoral guidance will, I fear, be very quickly tested. How these things are handled in practice will determine and define the Church’s stance on the issue, more than well-intentioned words. It will be difficult for the bishops to implement their guidance in the face of the intense lobbying they will face, and we must pray for them and support them in any way we can as they seek to carefully shepherd the flock.”

Lee Gatiss, Church Society.

Church Society Director looks to Archbishop Welby for credible action

Lee Gatiss“After this candid speech, we are looking to him, in a positive and hopeful way, to make the claim that he wants evangelicals like us to flourish in the Church truly credible. He could do that in two ways: first, by engaging conservatives in real dialogue, listening in detail to our concerns; and second, encouraging and ensuring the appointment of 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops.”

Church Society Director Lee Gatiss responds to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address to the Church of England’s General Synod.

UK Girl Guide troop which refused to drop ‘God’ from their oath win their fight

David Holloway“Girl Guides who were told to adopt a new promise which omits God or face being axed from the organisation have won a reprieve after they were told no further action would be taken. …

The group, which meets at Jesmond Parish Church, received a letter from the Girl Guide’s chief commissioner in the North East saying their membership to the organisation would end on December 31 last year unless they used the new promise.”

– story from Mail Online. (h/t


Girlguiding’s New Direction – Is It Really Wanted? – David Holloway, Jesmond Parish Church.
The Religion of the Self – David Holloway, Jesmond Parish Church.

England’s College of Bishops respond to The Pilling Report

Pilling Report“The College of Bishops met on 27th January, 2014 to begin a process of reflection on the issues raised by the Pilling Report…

We are united in welcoming and affirming the presence and ministry within the Church of gay and lesbian people, both lay and ordained. We are united in acknowledging the need for the Church to repent for the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and affirming the need to stand firmly against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found. …”

Full statement.

And from Anglican Mainstream’s Andrew Symes

“This re-states an important recommendation of the Pilling Report. Its major weakness is that “affirming the ministry of gay people” is not explained or qualified. It suggests that the church does not distinguish between welcoming someone’s presence within the church, endorsement of their lifestyle, an assumption of Christian fellowship, and affirming their ministry. “

The Pilling Report can be found here (PDF).

‘Work of ARCIC irrelevant to most Christians, says Lord Carey’

Bp George Carey“Catholics and Anglicans involved in formal ecumenical dialogue might as well be ‘talking on the moon’ because no one is listening to them, a former Anglican leader has said.

Lord Carey of Clifton said the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) was ‘irrelevant’ to most Christians…”

– from The Catholic Herald (UK).

Crossway article on The Pilling Report

Lee Gatiss“The easy thing for us to do, in the current climate, would be to respond to our culture’s normalising of homosexual practice by re-thinking the Church’s historic opposition to it. Many people, and especially the younger generation, now feel that there is nothing wrong with same-sex attraction or behaviour, so it seems obvious to many that to attract them we must soften our stance on this issue at some level.

The riskier, more radical and more difficult thing to do is to hold on to what the Holy Spirit teaches us in his word about what it means to be holy, and what kind of lifestyle is pleasing to him. Will we take that risk, and pay the cost of discipleship, for the sake of Jesus and the clarity of his gospel call to ‘Repent and believe the good news’?”

– In the latest issue of Crossway, Church Society Director Lee Gatiss responds to The Pilling Report. PDF file.

An Alternative Baptismal Liturgy

John RichardsonJohn Richardson in the UK proposes an alternative Baptismal liturgy for the Church of England. It has a bit more substance.

‘Is the Church of England ashamed to preach Christ crucified?’

christ-crucified“It must be the ultimate irony in liturgical development that the Church of England becomes ashamed of the exhortation not to be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified …”

UK blogger ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ on the CofE trial Baptism service.

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