Bishops today apologised to Church of England members who may be alienated by a recent report
The paper by the House of Bishops, being debated at the General Synod in London, calls for the Church to stay opposed to same-sex marriage while adopting a “fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for gay people.
There is little support for any change in formal teaching with the report urging the promotion of “maximum freedom” within current laws and doctrines. Protesters gathered outside Church House in Westminster today where 400 Church leaders gathered for the third day of the Synod.
In a speech to the national assembly, the Bishop of Willesden, the Right Reverend Pete Broadbent, said he did not want to “attempt an exercise in self-justification”.
He told the senior clergymen: “I don’t want to spend time in explanation. I don’t want to make excuses for the House of Bishops’ document.
The report calls for the Church to stay opposed to same-sex marriage while welcoming gay people
“I do want to apologise to those members of Synod who found our report difficult, who didn’t recognise themselves in it, who had expected more from us than we actually delivered, for the tone of the report. On behalf of the House and without being trite or trivial, I’m sorry.”
I do want to apologise to those members of Synod who found our report difficult
Bishop of Willesden
He said he “regrets” that some members of Synod do not want to take part after losing trust in the process, but the report, while a “pretty conservative document”, does not suppress the “diversity of understanding and the range of views that exist” among bishops.
The Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, told the Synod the Church “owes much” to gay members and clergy.
Protesters gathered outside Church House in Westminster
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He said: “Like others which have gone before it, (the report) has not received a rapturous reception in all quarters, and I regret any pain or anger it may have caused.”
He also acknowledged the “tension” over the teaching on marriage and sexual relationships, and the commitment to “enable their voices to be heard” of LGBTI people in the Church.