Thinking Anglicans

Questions on PLF in the House of Commons

Updated Monday

The Church Times reports: Second Commissioner responds to MPs’ questions on Prayers of Love and Faith

The full texts of both questions and answers can be found at They Work For You, starting here. For convenience, the substantive content has been copied below the fold.

Update  This Church Times article also includes information on voting in the House and College, some of which is additional to that in the previous report:

…In September, the College of Bishops voted 72-26 to “recommend to the House that we continue the work on pastoral provision, to extend this to clergy who enter into same-sex marriages”.

They also agreed, by a margin of 81-17, that there should be “no questions around sexual intimacy” put to “clergy in same-sex civil partnerships”.

The House of Bishops also voted in favour of a motion stipulating that the pastoral guidance should remove all barriers to clergy entering same-sex civil marriages, albeit by a narrower margin: 18 votes to 15.

The House agreed, however, by a vote of 23-13, to delay the publication of such pastoral guidance until “further work” had been done — a decision that was announced last Friday, when an update on LLF was published in advance of the next month’s General Synod meeting…



Opinion – 28 October 2023

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Did Jesus root his proclamation of the kingdom in orthodoxy and tradition?

Alison Milbank Church Times Management and mission: the Church of England is not a machine

Helen King sharedconversations Leaky Church


Some voting figures from the House and College of Bishops

Updated Friday

Francis Martin reports in the Church Times:

Bishops’ divisions over same-sex marriage exposed

Read the whole article if you possibly can, but it starts out:

A LARGE majority of C of E bishops support a move towards allowing priests to enter into same-sex marriage, and the immediate adoption of stand-alone services of blessing for same-sex couples, the Church Times can report.

The House of Bishops, however, voted to slow progress on both issues in a meeting earlier this month, in the face of conservative hostility. The outcome has prompted MPs to question the process of episcopal governance…

The report includes the following specific voting figures:

  • Voting records suggest that the House held a vote on whether it was of one mind that the pastoral guidance should permit clergy to be in same-sex civil marriages, and that this was passed by 18 votes to 15 — though the House still voted to delay its publication for “further work”.
  • Voting records seen by the Church Times show that a majority of 75 to 22 at the College of Bishops meeting in September supported a plan to approve the services under Canon B5A, which would have enabled their immediate use as an “experimental” service under the authority of the Archbishops.
    At a meeting on 9 October, however, the House of Bishops opted to take a different route, and instead move straight to the full synodical process outlined in Canon B2. The College of Bishops had expressly voted against this, by a majority of 68 to 28. The decision to reverse this in the House was by a small margin: 19 in favour of the plan to proceed straight to B2, and 16 against.

Update Friday

The leader in the Church Times reports that the College of Bishops voting on the pastoral guidance was  “72 to 26 to work on giving permission for clergy to enter same-sex marriages”.  This leader is also recommended reading.


Opinion – 25 October 2023

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The Gospel according to Brian and Gaby or GS 2328 – you choose

Evan McWilliams ViaMedia.News Doing A New Thing? The Ordination of Women and Same-Sex Love

John Seymour ViaMedia.News ‘That Which He Has Not Assumed Is Not Redeemed’: Jesus, Sexuality and GS2328


GSFA hosts a meeting in Cairo

There are two new documents on the website of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches:

The full list of those attending is copied here below the fold. It includes three active clergy of the Church of England, John Dunnett  (Chelmsford diocese), Richard Moy (London diocese), and Nicky Gumbel (London diocese).



Reactions to latest LLF proposal

Updated again Wednesday 25 October

These proposals are contained in GS 2328, published last Friday. It is titled:
Living in Love and Faith

The Church Times published this news story the same day: Same-sex provision needs more work, General Synod will be told

Charlie Bell has published A Sum Total of Nothing: The Prayers of Love and Faith Return to Synod

Helen King has written Going to the stake: Living in Love and Faith as Synod approaches

MOSAIC has issued this Statement on the House of Bishops LLF press release and General Synod Motion

Letter to the Second Church Estates Commissioner
This letter from Ben Bradshaw MP and Peter Gibson MP asks seven detailed questions about GS 2328 and the involvement of the House of Bishops in its approval.

Tuesday updates

Richard Moy Chapter Eight: Here Come the Generals
see also other post about his attendance at the GFSA Cairo meeting. He writes in detail about that meeting, and about Nicky Gumbel’s participation in it.

Helen King  Suspicion and fear

Jeremy Pemberton Living in Love and Faith: a whole lot of hot air?

John Sandeman The Church of England’s proposal to half bless same-sex couples

Wednesday updates


Andrew Goddard (via Psephizo) “Another Fine Mess”? A Guide to Where We Are With LLF Pre-General Synod
And there is a longer (18 pages) version here.
Also he draws attention to this item: GS Misc 1359 The Recent Evolution of the Church of England’s Liturgical Procedures and Canons (B1 to B5A)


Pre-General Synod Press Release

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet in London next month, and the usual pre-Synod press release, copied below, was issued today.

Synod meeting to focus on implementation of Prayers of Love and Faith

General Synod papers published for November 2023 Group of Sessions

The General Synod of the Church of England will meet next month in London to discuss the steps being taken to implement texts known as Prayers of Love and Faith, which ask for God’s blessing for same-sex couples.

In February of this year, Synod agreed a motion welcoming the texts and calling on The House of Bishops to further refine and commend them for use in the Church of England, together with new pastoral guidance and proposals for pastoral reassurance.

Earlier this month, The House of Bishops agreed in principle that the Prayers of Love and Faith should be commended for use, also concluding that special services for same-sex couples, based on the Prayers, should go forward for consideration to be formally authorised under canon law. Synod also voted for no change to the doctrine of the Church of England around marriage and sexual intimacy.

In November, Synod members will be presented with the work that the House of Bishops has carried out on the Prayers of Love and Faith since February. They will also have the opportunity to discuss the draft pastoral guidance, specifically supporting the Prayers, which has been shared for the first time.

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, who has co-chaired the Living in Love and Faith steering group, said: “This twin-track approach means that prayers asking for God’s blessing for same-sex couples will be available for use in church very soon, as Synod has asked. A means of offering special, standalone services for same-sex couples will go forward to be considered for formal authorisation at a later stage.

“While we do not all agree about questions of marriage and sexual intimacy, a long period of discernment has shown that a majority of people would like to see a change in the Church of England’s approach to same-sex relationships. Based on what the Church has told us, no change is not an option.

“There are those who would like to see us go much further, and those who believe we are going too far. Yet we have expressed our heartfelt wish to remain together as one Church. The pastoral provision must protect and value both those who struggle so much with this that they need reassurance, and those who wish to place same-sex relationships before God in prayer.

“In other words, it will be ‘both and’, not ‘either or’. We are implementing what Synod asked us to, prayerfully and with the hope of God’s Grace.”

Papers for the November 2023 Group of Sessions were published and sent to members today.

Synod will consider and vote on the first consideration of the draft Redress Measure which makes legal provision for the creation of a national redress scheme for victims and survivors of Church-related abuse. This delivers on the commitment made by the Church in its response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The draft Measure lays the groundwork to deliver a Scheme which offers redress in a range of forms including apology, acknowledgement, therapeutic, and financial support to survivors of abuse perpetrated by a person acting under the authority of the Church of England. It makes provision for a single ‘redress body’ to deliver the Scheme and also makes provision for the financing and includes further details of the Scheme’s operation.

The Bishop of Winchester, Philip Mounstephen, chair of the Redress Project Board, will introduce the draft Measure and take questions from members.

The Measure is expected to return to the Synod for the Revision Stage in July 2024 followed by the Final Drafting and Final Approval stages.

More information

Read the Papers and find out more about the November General Synod meeting


November General Synod – Agenda and Papers

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet in London from Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 November. The agenda (GS 2322) and papers were released today. The report of the Business Committee (GS 2323) includes a guide to the group of sessions.

The papers can be downloaded as two zipped files, and there are links to individual papers below the fold.

The main business of this group of sessions will Living in Love and Faith; the supporting paper is GS 2328 Living in Love and Faith: Setting out the progress made and work still to do. There will be an informal session on Monday afternoon, and then on Tuesday afternoon the Bishop of London will move:

‘That this Synod, conscious that the Church is not of one mind on the issues raised by Living in Love and Faith, that we are in a period of uncertainty, and that many in the Church on all sides feel pain at this time, recognise the progress made by the House of Bishops towards implementing the motion on Living in Love and Faith passed by this Synod in February 2023, as reported in GS 2328, and encourage the House to continue its work of implementation.’

Approximately nine hours have allocated to the debate, spread over Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday.



General Synod – Report of Proceedings July 2023

The General Synod Report of Proceedings July 2023 is now available.

In addition to the usual verbatim transcript of the proceedings, there is an appendix containing several supplementary questions with answers that were provided after the meeting. These include

  • the Serious Incident Report submitted to the Charity Commission on 26 June and the closing letter received from the Charity Commission on 3 August (Questions 8 & 9),
  • an explanation of why and how Martin Sewell’s Questions got changed without him knowing (Questions 40-41).

Opinion – 18 October 2023

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Are We Looking For Jesus?

Neil Patterson ViaMedia.News The Difficulties of Differentiation

Fergus Butler-Gallie Church Times Clergy cache in the attic
“An online market for unwanted ministry items leads Fergus Butler-Gallie to reflect on puppets and prayer books”


New Bishop of St Davids elected

News from the Church in Wales

New Bishop of St Davids elected
Provincial news Posted: 17 October 2023

A senior cleric, who has served in every county of Wales’ largest diocese, will now lead it as its 130th bishop.

The Archdeacon of Carmarthen, Dorrien Davies, was today elected as the next Bishop of St Davids – a diocese which covers the three West Wales counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

Archdeacon Dorrien secured the necessary two-thirds majority vote from members of the Electoral College on the second day of its meeting at St Davids Cathedral.



Church of England Safeguarding Standards Published

The Church of England has today published a set of National Safeguarding Standards and an accompanying press release which is copied below. The approved version of the standards can be downloaded here.

Safeguarding standards published

Church of England safeguarding standards published

The Church of England has today published a set of National Safeguarding Standards, an essential benchmark to understand the quality and the impact of its safeguarding activity at a local and national level. The Standards will enable Church bodies to identify both their strengths and areas for development, which will in turn inform their strategic planning in respect of safeguarding.

Along with an accompanying Quality Assurance Framework these Standards have been developed over a three-year period in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including victims and survivors. They build on existing policies and procedures including the previous Promoting a Safer Church statement. The five standards aim to cover the breadth of safeguarding activity in the Church.

  • Standard One: Culture, Leadership and Capacity
  • Standard Two: Prevention
  • Standard Three: Recognising, Assessing and Managing Risk
  • Standard Four: Victims and Survivors
  • Standard Five: Learning, Supervision and Support

Each Standard contains:

  • A statement of the Standard itself.
  • An explanation of why it is important.
  • A series of ‘What Good Looks Like’ Indicators – these are detailed criteria that show how well a Standard is being achieved.
  • Details of relevant House of Bishops’ Guidance and Code, training, resources and tools that can be used to help gather data relevant to the indicators. These are important as they will equip Church bodies with the means to undertake quality assurance work locally, but also in a way that is consistent across other bodies.

The standards will also inform the second round of independent audits of dioceses and cathedrals, to begin in 2024 and announced in August. It is not expected that every Church body will be able to meet every indicator immediately and the auditors are aware that those dioceses and cathedrals in the early audit phase will have had less time to embed these standards.

The National Safeguarding Team is also entering a partnership with the parish Safeguarding Dashboard. This will enable the dashboard to become fully integrated with the new standards, thus making it easier for thousands of parishes to explore the standards.

The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, Joanne Grenfell, said: ‘All organisations, including the Church, must be able to demonstrate how well they are fulfilling their safeguarding responsibilities. The standards published today are part of a vital quality assurance framework aimed at making the Church a safer place for all and build on work already developed. I know they will be welcomed by all those involved in their local church as an important part of ensuring that our safeguarding activity is making a difference to people’s lives. It will also help the Church to be accountable to all its key stakeholders particularly survivors and victims of abuse.


There are a range of resources for parishes including:


12 bishops dissent from Monday’s statement by the House of Bishops

Premier Christianity has published the full text of a statement by bishops who are publicly dissenting from the statement issued by the House of Bishops on Monday. This is copied in full below the fold. For reactions to this letter, see the preceding TA article. (more…)


Reactions to House of Bishops announcement

Last updated Wednesday 18 October

Church Times Prayers of Love and Faith to be commended by Bishops, but use is restricted till Synod approves

Church of England Evangelical Council CEEC responds to House of Bishops’ announcement

Church Society Ros Clarke Who wants the Prayers of Love and Faith anyway?


Anglican Network in Europe Not Fit for Office

Premier Christian News  Same-sex attracted CofE leader laments ‘painful ambiguity’ as bishops commend prayer blessings

Andrew Goddard Psephizo Prayers of Love and Faith: what has the House of Bishops done?
This article contains a very detailed analysis of what the statement may mean. Worth reading in full.

See also next TA article about 12 bishops who dissent from the announcement.

Anglican Futures Caution: The Travelator Continues…

Further statement from CEEC responding to the 12 bishops: CEEC welcomes bishops’ dissenting statement

Some bishops have now issued individual statements:

Please do report any other letters, or more direct links for these ones, via the Comments.

Update Tuesday 17 October
has issued an e-bulletin to its supporters: page one and page two
(reproduced here as PDFs)

Update Wednesday 18 October
Church Society
has published What are the Prayers of Love and Faith and why do they matter? which links to this PDF.
And there is also this: Editorial: Good Lord!


Opinion – 11 October 2023

Helen King sharedconversations The ‘saviour moment’?

Oliver Harrison Psephizo A Letter From The Front Line


Prayers of Love and Faith: Bishops agree next steps to bring to Synod

Press release

Prayers of Love and Faith: Bishops agree next steps to bring to Synod

House of Bishops agrees to commend Prayers of Love and Faith

The Church of England’s House of Bishops has agreed in principle that prayers asking for God’s blessing for same-sex couples – known as Prayers of Love and Faith – should be commended for use.

The House, which met in London, also concluded that structures for special services for same-sex couples, based on Prayers of Love and Faith, should go forward to be formally authorised under canon law.

The bishops will bring proposals to General Synod next month which will pave the way for a process that would lead to the authorisation of these special services under Canon B2.

This process, expected to take until 2025, would involve consultation with every diocese and require approval by General Synod.

Bishops gave serious consideration to an alternative legal process which could have enabled special services to be authorised almost immediately – but temporarily – (under Canon B5A). This would still have required a further process for the services to be authorised permanently (under Canon B2) by Synod.

New draft pastoral guidance will be brought to next month’s meeting of Synod, setting out how the system could operate. Further work is already in progress on the second part of the Pastoral Guidance which will look at matters in the life and work of clergy and lay ministers.

Proposals for the Prayers of Love and Faith were discussed in an historic debate at the General Synod in February of this year. Synod called on the bishops to work on Pastoral Guidance and other arrangements needed to implement that decision.

The proposals will be discussed in detail at a meeting of General Synod in London on November 13 to 15.

At today’s meeting the bishops agreed that:

  • The prayers and readings in Prayers of Love and Faith for use with same-sex couples will be commended by the House of Bishops for use in public worship.
  • Special standalone services set out in Prayers of Love and Faith should be brought to the General Synod to decide whether to authorise them under Canon B2, after consultation with dioceses.
  • There is also further work under way to explore further forms of pastoral reassurance and formal structural pastoral provision to ensure the conscience of everyone is respected.

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who co-chaired the steering group which has brought the proposals forward, said: “The House of Bishops’ decisions today continue to implement Synod’s vote to recognise publicly the commitment of same-sex couples and to pray God’s blessing for them.

“They have agreed to commend Prayers of Love and Faith and also considered the best way to authorise special standalone services. Having carefully considering the legal, theological and pastoral implications of possible approaches, the bishops concluded that it would ultimately be clearer to proceed directly to consideration under Canon B2.

“We acknowledge that there are some who would like this process to move faster, however the move to full authorisation will provide clarity and wide consultation ahead of a final decision by synod in 2025.

“I know that for some, these measures go too far and, for others, not nearly far enough and the bishops discussed the need for pastoral reassurance, and for some the need for formal structural pastoral provision.

“But the heart of the gospel is reconciliation – our desire is to remain together as one Church in our uncertainty, finding ways to live well with our different perspectives and convictions.”

The meeting included times of prayer and worship, with prayers said for crises around the world including the situations in Israel and Gaza, and in Afghanistan.


Opinion – 7 October 2023

Helen King sharedconversations Waiting for bishops

Chrissie Chevasutt ViaMedia.News Don’t Preach. Just Don’t.

Marcus Green Inclusive Evangelicals Friendly fire ….

Kate Mossman The New Statesman Justin Welby: “It’s better to be woke than asleep”
“He has denounced migration policy yet resists calls for gay marriage. Can the Archbishop of Canterbury unite a fraying Church?”

Andrew Goddard The Living Church Prayers of love and faith, (Arch-)Episcopal power and Anglican identity
and in response
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Disturbing the Foundations: LLF, the Sexual Revolution and General Synod


TEC parochial statistics

The (American) Episcopal Church has released its Parochial Report Results from 2022. Here are some news items and comments on these statistics.

Neil Elliot NumbersMatters Is TEC bouncing back?

Rebecca Paveley Church Times US Episcopalian Sunday figures nearly halved over past decade

Jeff Walton Episcopal Withering on the Vine

Kirk Petersen The Living Church Episcopal Attendance Bounces Back 19% from Pandemic Low


Complaint re William Nye


On 12 June, we published this item: House of Survivors challenges William Nye which links to an open letter:
Open Letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
Re: Notice of Complaint re Mr. William Nye LVO

Comments on that post noted at the time that House of Survivors was merely the website hosting the letter, not the originator of it, as our earlier headline had erroneously implied. Apologies.

Yesterday, 2 October, House of Survivors has hosted a second letter here: Open Letter to Archbishops, House of Survivors, and General Synod | October 2023

The letter is available both as a PDF, and on the HoS webpage. It is also copied in full below the fold.
Link to the PDF:
Open Letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York`
Re: Update on Notice of Complaint re Mr. William Nye LVO


Church Times  report: Survivors’ complaint against Church of England secretary-general stalls