History was made today by our Anglican Church. The blessing of same sex relationships has finally been permitted. After years (and years) of debate, discussion and argument we finally made it over the line, just.
This is not marriage; nor even a fully authorised church liturgy; but clergy who wish to and when given permission by their bishops may offer a service of blessing. A couple will be married in a civil ceremony and then come to church for a blessing service. See commentary here
Why is this good?
It is a beginning, a first step which sends a message of welcome and inclusion. In particular those wanting to be ordained in the church will now be able to be seen to be in “rightly ordered” relationships (only in those dioceses where bishops are in favour).
90% of the people at the General Synod voted in favour today – that is a strong affirmation of inclusion. The mood was positive, with people ready to move forward.
Why is it not so good?
It is only a first step; it is not marriage or even a fully authorised service to be used across the church by everyone. So it is the minimalist approach – some would say crumbs from the table. It is not enough. Many concessions have been made to try and keep everyone together in the church. These concessions to include those of conservative theology have been made at the expense of LGBTI church members. Two members of the General Synod resigned today. They have demanded many concessions and then left anyway. See here
We will work with our bishops to be authorised to conduct blessings and work with them on the format of a service. We are unsure whether many couples will want to take up this option as we assume most will be wanting a marriage service. But for those who are interested in a separate civil service followed by a blessing – please get in touch!