Will “freezing” the CofE same sex marriage debate avoid future split?

Feb 21, 2024 by

from Religion Media Centre:

Four senior members of the Church of England took part in a Church Times webinar to discuss options for its future, as its rancorous debate on same sex blessings threatens to split the church. Speakers Prof Helen King, Rev Jude Padfield, Rev Neil Patterson and Ed Shaw, explained the choices range from structural division, living with irreconcilable disagreements, and allowing same sex stand-alone services of blessing and same-sex married clergy to have a licence to minister.

During the discussion, the newly appointed interim theological adviser to the House of Bishops, Rev Dr Tom Woolford, asked whether Professor King would be satisfied to ‘freeze’ the Living in Love and Faith process where it is, in order to keep the church at its current level of communion/unity; or whether she would prefer to allow clergy to be in same sex marriages and bring in same sex marriage into the church – but at the cost of structural separation.

Helen King replied that she was surprised to see the question, but if standalone services were allowed and if clergy in same sex marriages were allowed to have a licence, she would be happy to pause at that point, as there was no consensus for same sex marriage in the church. No bishop accepted the invitation to take part in the webinar.

The discussion will be on the Church Times YouTube channel.

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