The Church of England has announced that it will allow congregations to bless same-sex unions but will maintain a traditional definition of marriage.
In a statement, the church said “For the first time, under historic plans outlined today, same-sex couples will be able to come to church to give thanks for their civil marriage or civil partnership and receive God’s blessing.”
The statement said the Bishops of the Church of England will issue an apology to LGBTQI people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility they have faced in churches and the impact this has had on their lives.”
The Bishops will “urge all congregations in their care to welcome same-sex couples ‘unreservedly and joyfully’ as their reaffirm their commitment to a “radical new Christian inclusion founded founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it based on good, healthy and flourishing relationships and in a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual,” the statement said.
It emphasized on “a proper 21st century understanding of being human and being sexual.”
Meanwhile, in Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus said “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ adding that ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
In his remark, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said, “I am under no illusions that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, but it is my hope that what we have agreed will be received in a spirit of generosity, seeking the common good.”
Officials said the proposals by the Church of England come after a six-year-period of “listening, learning and discernment known as ‘Living in Love and Faith’ and will be outlined in a report to the Church’s General Synod, which meets in London next month”.
Recall that in the United States, some denominations have affirmed same-sex marriage and it has caused division within the denomination, most visibly in the United Methodist Church. The LGBTQ debacle has caused hundreds, perhaps thousands of UMC churches to leave the denomination within the past year.
Reacting to the issue, chief executive of Christian Concern and former lay member of the General Synod, Andrea Williams, said the apology to the LGBTQ community could also prove to be a “turning point” and signal the decline of the CofE.
She said “Christianity teaches that sexual expression is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. Any other form of sexual relationships are sexually immoral.
“The Bible calls it sin. The Church of England is now encouraging the celebration of sexual immorality”.
“Let’s be clear this is a critical moment and will go down in history as a turning point in the decline and fall of the Church of England…unless these proposals can be decisively resisted by the faithful in Synod.”
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