Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:
Q. Has the Council considered the implications from the point of view of the Porvoo Agreement of the announcement by the Church of Sweden that it is going to change its marriage service to take a gender neutral form so that the same form of service can be offered to same-sex couples as to heterosexual couples?
The Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill, replied:
A. The Church of Sweden has not yet taken a decision in response to recent state legislation providing for gender neutral marriage. The Synod meets in September and again in October and there is a proposal before it that the marriage liturgy should not be gender-specific. In the light of a letter from the Archbishop of Uppsala advising the Porvoo churches of likely developments in the legislature and the Swedish Synod, the Faith and Order Advisory Group considered the issues raised by this proposal at its last meeting and the Chairs of the CCU and FOAG have published an open letter to the Archbishop reflecting FOAG’s concerns about the implications of any revision of its marriage liturgy by the Church of Sweden. This letter is now on the Church of England website and I have arranged for a copy to be placed on the notice board.
Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council of Christian Unity:
Q. In the light of the considerable difficulties experienced in the Anglican Communion following the consecration of a practicing homosexual as a bishop, has the Council considered the implications of the recent decision by the Church of Sweden to appoint a practising lesbian as a bishop?
The Bishop of Guildford replied:
A. The Council for Christian Unity has not had the opportunity to reflect on this recent development. When it does so it will need to consider the similarities and differences between the Anglican Communion and the communion of Porvoo Churches. However, in both contexts, the interchangeability of ordained ministries is subject to the discipline of the churches involved, which in the case of the Church of England is the discipline set out in the Revd Tony Higton’s 1988 General Synod motion and in the 1991 report Issues in Human Sexuality. The CCU has proposed that there should be a consultation next year in which the Porvoo churches share the work they have done in human sexuality and the doctrine of marriage, in order to see where there is common ground and where there are genuine differences between them.