New Zealand’s Anglican church has agree to explore ways of blessing same-sex relationships, while protecting the freedom of those who disagree. Meanwhile senior Church of England clergy have warned that opposing inclusion is undermining Christian witness.
"First gay clergyman to wed plunges Church into crisis: Archbishop under pressure to sack canon who flouted ban on same sex marriage", announced the Mail dramatically. "Church of England faces 'crisis' as gay priest weds" was the Telegraph headline.
Letting same-sex couples marry in the Church of England would be catastrophic for Christians in countries such as South Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan, claimed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. He also has “real hesitations” about equal marriage because of the Bible and tradition.
A group opposed to inclusion has praised Church of England bishops for being negative towards clergy wanting to marry same-sex partners, and urged them to go further. The Evangelical Group of the General Synod (EGGS) committee wants laypeople in same-sex relationships to be disciplined too.
In an open letter, the LGBTI Anglican Coalition has asked the Church of England’s House of Bishops some searching questions regarding Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. Criticism of the bishops’ guidance, which ruled out clergy being married same-sex partners and services of blessing, has been widespread.
The tone of the Church of England's House of Bishop's 'Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage' is cold and legalistic, says Savi Hensman. She argues that it is in contrast to the more welcoming attitude of General Synod and that putting it into practice may prove harder than anticipated.