Thinking Anglicans

Opponents of same-sex blessings issue documents

Today’s Church Times reports: Church Society question legality of blessing prayers for same-sex couples

OPPONENTS of the commendation of blessings for same-sex couples circulated documents last week challenging the legality of the proposed prayers and expressing anxieties about their practical application.
Last week, the Church Society, a conservative Evangelical organisation in the Church of England, distributed a compilation of questions relating to the work of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) implementation groups (News, 3 May)…

…In addition, a small group of General Synod members who opposed the introduction of blessings for same-sex couples in February issued “further commentary” on the proposals.

The note was emailed to Synod members late on Sunday evening by Stephen Hofmeyr (Guildford), and signed by a further seven legal professionals who sit in the House of Laity, all of whom voted against the motion introducing the Prayers of Love and Faith (News, 9 February).

The two documents referenced can be read at the following links:

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Jeremy
Jeremy
10 months ago

A further seven “legal professionals”?
Does that phrasing indicate that one or more of them is not actually a lawyer?

John Simmons
John Simmons
Reply to  Jeremy
10 months ago

STEPHEN HOFMEYR KC
(Guildford 320 – barrister)
REBECCA BENSTED
(Portsmouth 386 – barrister)
RICHARD DENNO
(Liverpool 348 – Professional Representative before the European Patent Office)
CARL FENDER
(Lincoln 343 – barrister)
DANIEL MATOVU
(Oxford 379 – barrister)
CLIVE SCOWEN
(London 358 – barrister)
CHRISTOPHER TOWNSEND
(Ely 305 – retired solicitor)
DEBBIE WOODS
(Chester 284 – associate professor and retired solicitor)

I think you might find your query answered there.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  John Simmons
10 months ago

Disappointing that there’s only one KC.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  John Simmons
10 months ago

Indeed I do find my query answered. According to your list: five barristers, two retired solicitors (one a professor), and a “professional representative.”

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
10 months ago

The answer to “What would Jesus do?” is rarely “write 15 pages of faux-academic legal rambing”. Still, I suppose it’s nice they’ve got a hobby.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Interested Observer
10 months ago

I don’t think “composing half-a-loaf prayers of blessing in a cowardly attempt to appease both gay people and their oppressors” would have been high up in Jesus’ plans either, if I’m honest.

RogerB
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

I hope we’re all trying to find what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church.
In the scriptures I don’t think the HS ever says ‘you’re doing fine, just carry on doing what you’ve been doing for the past 500 years’. When the HS moves, it is to bring about change. I think the time for this change has come.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  RogerB
10 months ago

I don’t think it likely the Holy Spirit is in the least bit interested in silly arguments in the CofE which were settled in secular society years ago

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  RogerB
10 months ago

I believe the Spirit is showing the way to equal marriage, but the CofE bishops are trying to quench it for fear of the bibliolatry faction.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

A sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable according to the Bible.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Fr Dean
10 months ago

It is, however, not precise about what constitutes such a sin.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

From the House of Bishops: “They are requesting further work around key subjects which will shape the new pastoral guidance. They are also asking for specific proposals to be developed that will ensure that those who offer the Prayers of Love and Faith, and those who don’t, are respected, supported and protected, recognising they are made out of theological conviction.” A different viewpoint from yours I believe.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Bob
10 months ago

No, that’s the same view dressed up in nicey-nice bishop-speak.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

I disagree. You refer to the “bibliolatry faction”. A negative label given to a group of fellow believers. Hardly respectful.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Bob
10 months ago

I’m labelling the uniting theological error, not labelling people.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Jo B
10 months ago

Faction: “a small organised dissenting group within a larger one”. A group of people.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Bob
10 months ago

A group of people who share, in this case, a particular error. If I were labelling the people I would have called them bibliolaters.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  RogerB
10 months ago

I used to think of you
as a symphony
neatly structured
full of no surprises.
Now I see you as
a saxophone solo
blowing wildly
into the night,
a tongue of fire,
flicking in unrepeated patterns.

  • Steve Turner, Spiritus
Clare Amos (Europe)
Clare Amos (Europe)
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
10 months ago

Sometimes I wish there was a ‘like’ button one could press on TA. If there were I would press it now in response to Tim’s quote of Steve Turner’s short poem. Wonderful image of the Spirit – I will save it up for future use.

RogerB
Reply to  Clare Amos (Europe)
10 months ago

I think we just have to say ‘amen!’.
But stand back while the people with the fire extinguishers rush in.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Clare Amos (Europe)
10 months ago

Thanks Clare. I found it in a book which is long out of print, ironically entitled, ‘Up to Date’! Link here.

Bob
Bob
10 months ago

A lengthy list of questions to be answered, and no doubt there are more. Plenty for the working parties to complete by the next General Synod.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Bob
10 months ago

“A lengthy list of questions to be answered” Or not. Simply asking a question does not give you the right to consideration, still less an answer. The Japanese word “Mokusatsu” (ignore, treat with silent contempt), has a complex history, and its use in the Japanese government’s answer to the Potsdam Declaration has been said to have contributed to Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb. The post-war glosses that attempt to add “no comment” to its meaning are in part a reaction to that. But the proposed sense of “remain in a wise and masterly inactivity” would be an appropriate response… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Interested Observer
10 months ago

Valid questions from concerned members of the Church of England deserve an answer. If the bishops fail to do so they would be failing to listen to the very people they have been called to serve, regardless of their viewpoint on an issue.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bob
10 months ago

We have been waiting for an explanation of “radical new Christian inclusion’ for over 5 years so patience may be needed.

Marian Birch
Marian Birch
10 months ago

I have read (fairly cursorily) the documents – and it has prompted me to reflect on an issue that may seem tangential – but I think has implications for how the C of E chooses to proceed. One of the ‘complaints’ is that for the last 20 years no holder of complementarian views has been appointed to a ‘normal’ diocesan or suffragan see (ie the only complementarians appointed have been in the role of ‘flying bishops’). I expect readers of TA know what ‘complementarian’ means – but if any don’t – it is the view that men and women are… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
10 months ago

Paul’s use of the “one flesh” argument in relation to (probably male) sex with a (probably female) prostitute needs more analysis than the lawyers give it. There are, in fact, many different understandings of what constitutes marriage – on Paul’s argument (and the horrific marriage by rape part of the tradition) consummation could constitute marriage: in which case “sex before marriage” would be impossible. Consummation as a criterion also makes sense of the traditions which allow annulment. A proper theological (rather than legal) analysis of marriage might consider marriage to be constituted by one or more of: intent; right intent;… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Mark Bennet
10 months ago

FWIW my very Anglican upbringing emphasised that the religious ceremony was the solemnisation of a marriage, not its beginning, which might be long before that, and at least nodded towards consummation and intent as you describe.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Mark Bennet
10 months ago

At first glance the consummation argument seems compelling until we recall that in Matthew 1 the Virgin Mary has a husband.

Russell Dewhurst
Russell Dewhurst
Reply to  Kate
10 months ago

A marriage between people of the opposite sex in England is voidable by a one of the parties if the other wilfully refuses to consummate. If both agree not to consummate the marriage is not void. So a couple wishing to emulate the example you cite could have a marriage that was valid both theologically and legally.

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