There has already been a great deal of reaction to the vote at General Synod to allow prayers of blessing for same sex couples. We believe it is a crucial moment in the life of the Church of England and, indeed, in the life of the Anglican Communion. Much will be written and said over the next few weeks and months.
We note that the General Synod motion included an amendment, adding paragraph (g): “Endorse the decision of the College and House of Bishops not to propose any change to the doctrine of marriage, and their intention that the final version of the Prayers of Love and Faith should not be contrary to or indicative of a departure from the doctrine of the Church of England”. This means that, when the Bishops come to make a formal proposal, the only prayers which they could legally permit would be those which were faithful to the doctrine. If they comply with this stricture, it is hard to see which of the draft prayers would survive, without a clear public statement at any service that they MAY NOT be used to bless sexually active relationships.
For the moment we would commend to you as members of the EFAC Global family this declaration:
We declare that the Church of England, in making this change, has departed from the faith which is revealed in the holy scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness.
Our desire is to remain faithful to the inheritance of faith as members of the Church of England and in communion with those Provinces of the Anglican Communion who also maintain the biblical and historic teaching of the Church. We will therefore resist all attempts to marginalise us or to declare our understanding of these matters as but one option among many.
Bishop Henry Scriven (EFAC General Secretary)
Bishop Stephen Hale (EFAC Council Chairman)
(With thanks to Bishop Pete Broadbent for this declaration)