Gay marriage in Britain took one step closer toward becoming a reality on Monday after the House of Lords passed a bill that seeks to redefine marriage.
The bill will now go back to the House of Commons for a review, though the Associated Press reported that is likely to go without a problem, as the House of Commons passed the bill earlier, 390 to 148.
If signed into law, same-sex couples will be allowed to have both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales. The Church of England, which has opposed gay marriage and often spoken out against it, will be banned from performing ceremonies. more >>
The Church of England voted on Monday to restart the legislative process to allow female bishops, aiming for the measure to be passed by November 2015.
The church's governing body, known as the General Synod, met in York July 5-9 and ultimately decided to consider new legislation, known as "Option One," which passed 319 to 84, with 22 abstentions.
The General Synod chose "Option One" as there were four other options, and draft legislation is to be produced by November 2013. more >>
The Church of England has issued an apology for its part in past cases of child abuse, saying that its failure to properly deal with such reports was as sinful as the perpetrators of the crimes, but promised that it will look into new ways to stop such abuse in the future.
"We cannot do anything other than own up to our failures. We were wrong," said the Rt. Revd. Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee in a statement.
"Our failures were sin just as much as the perpetrators sinned. By failing to listen or act appropriately we condemned survivors to live with the harm when we should have been assisting them into whatever measure of healing might be possible." more >>
Bishops representing the largest Province of The Episcopal Church have written an open letter in which they showed support for those who refused to depart the denomination when the leadership of the South Carolina Diocese decided to leave.
"We commend you for your faith and courage during this trying season. We observed that you are meeting your present difficulties with good fellowship, good creativity and good cheer," stated the Province IV House of Bishops. "We pledge to you our prayers and the prayers of those we serve as we all go forward in faith. And we pledge our support and cooperation to our brother, your Bishop, Charlie von Rosenberg."
Last year, the Diocese of South Carolina decided to leave The Episcopal Church over a mixture of theological differences and the treatment of their bishop, Rev. Mark Lawrence. more >>
As part of its drive to retain congregation numbers, the Church of England is training its clergy to create a "pagan church" where Christianity will be "very much in the center," a British newspaper reports.
The mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion is seeking to create new forms of Anglicanism with which people of alternative beliefs should feel comfortable, according to The Telegraph.
"I would be looking to formulate an exploration of the Christian faith that would be at home in their culture," the daily quotes the Rev. Steve Hollinghurst, who is advising the denomination in its new endeavor, as telling the BBC. more >>
The law change approved by the Church of England at the turn of the year that allows gay clergy to be considered for consecration will be put to a test by a legal briefing sent out to General Synod members that says priests in civil partnerships will have to prove to archbishops that they are not in a sexually active relationship.
"To be admitted to Holy Orders a person must be 'of virtuous conversation and good repute and such as to be a wholesome example and pattern to the flock of Christ,' the Legal Office document sent in June reads. "Once in Holy Orders a cleric must be diligent to frame and fashion his life and that of his family according to the doctrine of Christ and to make himself and them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ."
The legal briefing reminds Church of England members that a clergy's sexual orientation is "irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office" and that it should not be taken into account when considering nominations for the position. more >>