Archbishop of Canterbury issues statement on Synod vote on marriage, sexuality report

"But we want a recognition among bishops of the legitimate diversity within the church, and that people who don't agree with the official line have a place at the table".

As bishops consider how to proceed after the synod rebuff, a quiet campaign of civil disobedience may step up with an increasing number of clergy offering de facto services of blessing to same-sex couples in civil partnerships or marriages in the coming months in defiance of church rules.

The House of Bishops voted in favour of the report by 43 to 1, while the House of Laity's vote was more close, eventually coming in favour of the report by 106 votes to 83.

She says: "It sends a message to the hierarchy and to the bishops that actually, we are not happy with this and we need to do better".

The call by the House of Bishops for the Church to adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for people in the LGBT community, sounded just fine, until they started insisting that the Church's position on marriage remains that of "a union of one man and a woman", which was an apparent denunciation of same-sex marriage. "I don't think the Church - this is a shocking thing to say - really understands what that is", he said. In these discussions no person is a problem, or an issue.

"To deal with that disagreement, to find ways forward", he said, "we need a radical new Christian inclusion in the Church. This is about changing attitudes, and we need the space to do this work on our own".

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.

As Archbishops we will be establishing a Pastoral Oversight group led by the Bishop of Newcastle, with the task of supporting and advising Dioceses on pastoral actions with regard to our current pastoral approach to human sexuality.

It is back to the drawing board for the House of Bishops.

In a debate lasting more than two hours, about one in three members of the synod requested to speak from the packed floor of the auditorium. I do not seek to elevate my opinion and experience above that of scripture and the received tradition of the Church. The Bishops came to this debate committed to listen. However, all episcopal ministry must be exercised with all the people of God, lay and ordained, and thus our proposals will ensure a wide ranging and fully inclusive approach, both in subject matter and in those who work on it.

We answer the key questions on the issue.

The debate was held to allow the views of members of the Church's national assembly to be heard.

Vanessa Coleman

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