by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Church of England has published draft prayers for God’s blessing for same-sex couples, the denomination said in a press release last week. The move follows the Church of England’s recently announced plans to continue the prohibition of marriage ceremonies in church but to allow clergy to bless homosexual civil partnerships in church on a voluntary basis.
The draft prayers are included in a report titled ‘Living in Love and Faith: A response from the Bishops of the Church of England,’ the result of a “six-year process of listening, learning and discernment on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage,”the Church of England said in its press release Friday. The prayers were prepared by the bishops of the Church of England and will be considered by the General Synod next month.
The prayers will be available for use by Church of England clergy at their voluntary discretion. “There are prayers of thanksgiving and dedication and a prayer for God’s blessing as well as prayers for use with specific elements of a service, such as a Prayer when Rings are Worn and Prayers at the lighting of a candle,” the press statement reads.
At the same time, the Church of England asserted in the statement that its doctrine holds that marriage can only be between one man and one woman for life. “[The] formal teaching of the Church of England as set out in the canons and authorized liturgies – that Holy Matrimony is between one man and one woman for life – would not change [if the draft prayers for same-sex partnerships are approved by the General Synod],” the statement reads.
In its press release, the Church of England also stated that pursuant to the Living in Love and Faith report; the Bishops published an open letter of apology to the LGBTQI+ community. “We want to apologize for the ways in which the Church of England has treated LGBTQI+ people – both those who worship in our churches and those who do not,” the bishops write. “We have not loved you as God loves you, and that is profoundly wrong. We affirm, publicly and unequivocally, that LGBTQI+ people are welcome and valued: we are all children of God.”