Comments: Private Members' Motions - Liturgies for same-sex couples

This seems an excellent 'Way Forward' for the House of Bishops in the Mother Church of England. Let's all hope and pray that at least 100 members of your General Synod will approve this Motion.

We in ACANZP (New Zealand and Polynesia) are already voting in dioceses towards the same goal - that of assuring that faithful same-sex Christian relationships may be recognised as a 'good' blessed by God in our Churches.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 12 March 2018 at 12:16am GMT

I have reservations about this motion. Absent anything official, those willing to offer a service or prayer have considerable freedom. If the bishops commend something, the risk is that it will be narrower than is presently offered, while not increasing the number of clergy being willing to offer a service.

For me, it also entirely misses the point. I don't want to have to search out a parish willing to offer something. What I want is to be unconditionally welcomed in every parish the same as heterosexual couples. All motions like this really do is make it acceptable for parishes and ministers to discriminate. It isn't and we shouldn't let it be seen as acceptable.

Posted by Kate at Monday, 12 March 2018 at 9:09am GMT

I hope that something official will be commended, albeit taking very seriously Kate's reservations. For me the Church of England is an 'official' church and as a priest I offer prayers and confer blessings in the presence of the local congregation on behalf of the church. I don't really want to offer unofficial prayers, if it can be avoided.

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Monday, 12 March 2018 at 11:49am GMT

we express our faith through liturgy. Yes, it's nice to be able to make it up as we go along, but we wouldn't want that for a standard marriage service.
For as long as a service of unspecified prayers is merely tolerated and not authorised, there will be many priests who would like to offer one but won't risk it.
Just as there will be many who will offer something far more than permitted.

We need to regularlise how same sex relationships are treated by the church, and I think this is a very good step forward.

What I don't understand is why it comes as a private member's motion and how it relates to the Hereford motion.
Would it weaken or strengthen Hereford?

Christina is on General Synod and Chair of the Human Sexuality Group at General Synod, so she will have thought about this very carefully.

Maybe someone here who knows more about it can explain?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 12 March 2018 at 5:04pm GMT

"We need to regularlise how same sex relationships are treated by the church, and I think this is a very good step forward."

If regularisation means telling parishes that it is OK to discriminate, that is a very regressive step. That is much further than allowing individual ministers to opt out on grounds of conscience. If liturgy is commended, then there should be an obligation on all parishes to have an arrangement with a minister willing to offer the prayers and dedication. If we can have flying bishops to support traditionalists then similar arrangements should be in place for same sex couples. Creating no-go parishes for LGBT Christians must be unacceptable.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 11:09am GMT

I don't think we can ever get a liturgy that MUST be used by every parish.
All the church can do is offer a liturgy that CAN be used by every priest.

It's already ok to discriminate against same sex couples. What I'm hoping for is that parishes that don't want to discriminate no longer have their hands tied behind their backs.

Of course - ultimately, that will mean marriage equality in the church, at least on the same terms as churches can now offer or not offer marriage after divorce.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 12:20pm GMT

Erika, I'm surprised you say "we wouldn't want that for a standard marriage service". In my, admittedly limited, experience many couples do (help to) create their own personal marriage service. There are only a few phrases that are legally required to be used verbatim.

Posted by Phil Gardner at Tuesday, 13 March 2018 at 9:44pm GMT

there are authorised marriage liturgies.
Common Worship has a section on the marriage service, the marriage service with Holy Communion, prayers, prefaces, readings, alternative vows, blessings, canticles...

I'm not talking about legally required words, but authorised liturgy.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 14 March 2018 at 10:25am GMT

I don't think its right to say that there are only a few phrases that are required to be used verbatim in the marriage service. I have just checked the rubrics and it is clear that in the introduction 1 John, 4-16 must be said, there is an alternate preface but no choice beyond that. The declarations, collect and vows can't be altered. Nor the prayers for the giving and subsequent blessing of rings. Proclamation can't be amended. There is a choice of blessings but no room to improvise. The only place where there is some flexibility is in the prayers. What this shows is that when a priest marries a couple they are offering formal prayers on behalf of the Church.

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Thursday, 15 March 2018 at 9:36pm GMT
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