Following today's vote by General Synod to issue prayers which would enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, said:
“I welcome the decision made by General Synod today which followed hours of discussion and debate this week and several years of the Living in Love and Faith process.
“At the same time, I recognise that this will be a sad and painful decision for many. They are in my prayers and I assure them that I and my brother and sister bishops stand ready to hear their concerns.
“Synod’s decision will mean in due course that ministers can pray with and bless LGBT+ people in permanent, faithful and loving relationships in Church of England churches. There will be no requirement on ministers to do this and we are committed to respecting our ministers’ consciences and finding the best ways to support them in their ministry.
“The proposals make no change to the Church of England’s doctrine of Holy Matrimony. I recognise that this does not go far enough for many in the LGBT+ community and beyond, and that for others it goes too far.
“I pray for patience and unity as the proposed Prayers of Love and Faith are refined and the new Pastoral Guidance is drawn up, and as we embark on this new journey together.”
Read this message from bishops in our diocese issued before General Synod.