Bishops ‘Wedded’ to Same-Sex Blessings, Warns CEEC
A private document circulated by the CEEC [Church of England Evangelical Council] has expressed concern that the Bishops are oblivious to the real damage their Living and Love and Faith proposals will do to the Church. The document The Road Ahead describes the current situation and possible plans in response to future scenarios.
The CEEC paper explains that the Bishops’ proposed Prayers of Love and Faith represent a de facto change to the doctrine of the Church of England, likely to cause division in many parishes and to precipitate the ’departure’ of large numbers from the Church of England.
However, the document warns that many bishops remain wedded to the introduction of blessings and either “do not feel that this is a big ask, since they perceive it not to be changing doctrine,” and/or “believe that telling clergy they can either do or not do the services is a sufficient conscience protection.”
The paper outlines possible future plans ahead, including the ultimate scenario of the prayers being adopted by Synod. In this case, “CEEC will provide the means by which orthodox evangelicals can continue to flourish within the CofE.” This would include seeking alternative episcopal oversight, the restructuring of financial arrangements, examining what differentiation looks like within diocesan relationships and securing the pipelines for orthodox clergy and lay leaders in the future.
A Church Times editorial criticised the document, saying it contained “nothing particularly new.”
“Even before the General Synod’s endorsement of the Bishops’ plan to allow individual clergy to conduct church blessings of same-sex couples, conservative Evangelicals were talking about structural protections that would enable those unhappy with the move to stay as part of the Church of England, at least to the extent of keeping their church buildings and clergy pensions.”