Church of England votes to formally commend prayers of blessing for same-sex couples

Canterbury Cathedral, England.
Canterbury Cathedral, England. | Getty Images

The Church of England's House of Bishops voted Tuesday to formally commend prayers of blessing for same-sex couples to be used in services beginning next Sunday.

By a vote of 24 to 11, the bishops affirmed their previous decision to approve the final texts of Prayers of Love and Faith for use in regular public worship or private prayer, according to a press release.

The texts were also published with pastoral guidance explaining how they can be used, and the House of Bishops also claimed that it would consider a pastoral provision to protect the consciences of those who wish to use the prayers and those who do not.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The move from the House of Bishops follows two General Synod debates on the topic in February and November. The General Synod voted last month to proceed with trial blessing services for same-sex couples.

"We know not everyone in the Church of England agrees on these important questions which go the heart of who we are — about people's lives, their love and our shared faith," said Bishop of Leicester Martyn Snow, who chairs the group overseeing the prayers' implementation.

"This is reflected in the House of Bishops, where there remain different views on the best ways to proceed," he continued. "These Prayers are offered as pastoral provision. It is our prayer that they can be used with grace and understanding. Sharing them will be a blessing to the whole Church."

The House of Bishops' willingness to open the door to blessings for same-sex couples has drawn condemnation from orthodox Anglicans worldwide, with some warning it could fracture the global Anglican Communion.

In a statement known as the Kigali Commitment released in April, delegates with the conservative Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) rejected the Church of England's decision to allow clergy to bless same-sex couples and also repudiated the spiritual authority of any Anglican denomination that embraces homosexuality.

The commitment accused Church of England authorities of "repeated departures from the authority of God's Word."

"It grieves the Holy Spirit and us that the leadership of the Church of England is determined to bless sin," the statement said. "Since the Lord does not bless same-sex unions, it is pastorally deceptive and blasphemous to craft prayers that invoke blessing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

Andrea Williams of the London-based nonprofit Christian Concern urged the House of Bishops on Thursday to "repent," accusing them of promoting material that leads to "biblical illiteracy" and blurs the distinction between authentic godly love and destructive lusts.

"Inch by inch, they are working towards introducing special services that counterfeit genuine marriage and to officially approve of what God calls sin," she said. "They are not promoting love and faith but approving of lust and unfaithfulness to Jesus Christ."

Rev. Peter Ould, an Anglican vicar, told Premier Christian News this week that he is "saddened" by the decision and that it could potentially "cause massive damage to the Church of England."

"Some things in the pastoral guidance show that bishops are almost washing their hands of clergy and the doctrine," he said. "It feels like we're almost being gaslit."

Ould predicted that the guidance will likely spark a cascade of Anglican churches globally seeking "alternative Episcopal sort of structures."

"I would expect to see legal challenges. I'd expect to see a very strong pushback from some of the leaders of the Anglican provinces overseas," he said. "We are in for very stormy times. And we don't really know where this will end, but what we do know is God is sovereign. God is in charge."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles