|"Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, right, with his husband Stephen." Photograph: The Guardian|
The General Synod Report from the House of Bishops Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations GS 2055 was debated on Wednesday 15 February after group discussions. Ahead of the group work there was a presentation by the Bishop of Norwich and the Bishop of Willesden.
What was said in the presentation should be broadly acceptable to anyone who wants to uphold the Christian faith. Church Doctrine must inform society not bend to it. That society takes a more liberal view of sexual activity today is irrelevant.
Most regrettable is the need constantly to apologize for upholding the Christian faith. The Bishop of Norwich said he regretted the pain and anger felt by those who were disappointed adding an apology to those who thought the tone of the Report was wrong.
Worse, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to members of the General Synod setting out the next steps following the vote not to take note of GS 2055, a procedural motion allowing Synod to move on. Their tone is worrying.
In their letter they write "How we deal with the real and profound disagreement - put so passionately and so clearly by many at the debate - is the challenge we face as people who all belong to Christ...The way forward needs to be about love, joy and celebration of our common humanity; of our creation in the image of God, of our belonging to Christ - all of us, without exception, without exclusion."
Inclusion for LGBT campaigners means having their demands met, for same sex marriage in church to be accepted on a par with traditional marriage regardless of the consequences for the Church. Learning from the movement for the ordination of women they will agitate until they have what thy want. Ironically the lost vote was counter-productive as explained here.
When the Archbishops of Canterbury and York write about our belonging to Christ - all of us, without exception, without exclusion - they seem to forget the thousands who have left their Church in despair at the constant pandering to minorities who have no interest other than their own satisfaction.
Last year a group of gay Church of England clergy revealed that they were defying the official line taken by church leaders on same-sex marriage (the first pictured above). Ignoring the authority of their bishops and the teaching of their Church, half the signatories declared themselves already to be in a gay marriage. Why is the Church apologising to them?
Another Anglican priest, George Pitcher, writing in the Telegraph sets out the position plainly: "I'm a bleeding-heart liberal cleric – but the Church of England must not accept gay marriage". That is more like the authentic voice of the Church. If gay activists find that unacceptable it is they who should leave, not cradle Anglicans. LGBT people can live together. They can have civil partnerships. They can attend Church but they cannot be married there. Those are the rules. Greed does their cause no credit.
As the CEO of Christian Concern wrote, It's time for the Church of England to lay down the law on marriage.
Also, from a Christian Today memo, To Bewildered Bishops - Please Be Shepherds, Not Sheep
A desire to satisfy the wants of the few must not obscure the need to keep the many.