Church of England working to finalize Prayer and Pastoral Guidance for clergy who want to bless same-sex unions
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Church of England is working on finalizing its Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF) and Pastoral Guidance documents to be used by clergy who choose to hold blessing ceremonies in church for same-sex civil unions, the Christian Post (CP) reports.
The Anglican denomination voted in February to allow clergy to bless same-sex couples in civil partnerships in church, while still prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying in church. As part of this decision, the denomination called for members to “lament and repent” for “the failure of the Church” to welcome LGBT individuals and for the “harm” LGBT communities “have experienced — and continue to experience — in churches.”
At the Church’s General Synod on Saturday, the co-chairs of the steering group overseeing the guidance’s implementation reported the “current phase of work seeks to implement the actions agreed in the motion, including refining the Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF) and developing Pastoral Guidance, together with setting up a Pastoral Consultative Group to take these elements forward beyond this phase of work.”
Further to a request for feedback, the proposed guidance has so far received 226 official responses: 148 were positive, and 78 were negative, CP reports. Sixty of the respondents said the “Prayers of Love and Faith” document sounded “too much like a marriage,” while 44 respondents said the document doesn’t “go far enough.”
In its report on progress, the steering group stated: “It will be clear in the final version of the PLF that we want to provide a joyful opportunity to celebrate what is good and holy in a relationship. The rubrics guiding the use of the prayers in context will make clear their distinction from the liturgies for Holy Matrimony.” The steering group added on Saturday that it hopes to “clear proposals for the House and College of Bishops to consider, both for the authorization and/or commendation of the prayers and for providing effective reassurance” by the next General Synod meeting in November, CP reports.