by Revd Sara Batts-Neale
In the midst of misleading headlines, General Synod met in London in February.
Contrary to the media, we did not debate introducing liturgy that allows for options in how we refer to God.
Instead, alongside other significant business, an eight-hour debate heard arguments for and against the introduction of prayers of blessing for couples in same-sex relationships.
As a parish, some of us participated in the Living in Love and Faith course. Our feedback helped the bishops listen to what the Holy Spirit was saying about relationships, sex, and gender.
The result was the proposal for the prayers of love and faith, and importantly, repentance by the Church of England for harm caused to LGBTQIA+ people.
We are also promised pastoral guidance – not just around using the prayers, but about how LGBTQIA+ clergy and lay ministers are treated, and also the Church’s conversations about sex, relationships and identity.
The bishops, led by the Bishop of London, have been clear that what we are not doing is changing the Church’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Some, myself included, hope that we will find a way to recognise a loving, stable and faithful same-sex relationship in the same light as marriage.
Others feel even the prayers are a step too far.
The final version of the prayers will be brought back to General Synod in July.
If you would like to know more about General Synod, the prayers, or other business, do please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org