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Church of England supports blessings for same-sex marriages on trial basis

The Church of England’s governing body narrowly voted to support a special service to bless same-sex couples on a trial basis, but Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby abstained, highlighting deep divisions on the topic. said.

The CoE, the center of the Anglican Communion of 85 million members in 165 countries, adheres to the teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman and does not recognize same-sex marriage.

But the church is looking for ways to make people in the LGBTQ community feel more welcome, and in January apologized for the “hostile and homophobic reactions” some people faced.

In Wednesday night’s vote, the Church of England said the pilot service should be “introduced immediately” after years of often bitter debate, but no date was specified.

Bishops still have to give final permission for prayers in services, but this is a test and not a final church policy.

After intense debate, the Church of England has agreed to give special blessings to same-sex couples on a trial basis.
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In an effort to be more LGBTQ-friendly, the Church of England has apologized for past homophobia.
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Welby, who is also the leader of the World Episcopal Church, said he recognized that divisions remain.

“I abstained… because my pastoral responsibility extends to everyone in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion worldwide,” he said in a statement released Thursday.

In April, a conservative group of Anglican leaders from countries including Uganda, Rwanda and Brazil declared they no longer trusted Mr Welby over his stance on gay unions.

The Anglican Communion claims 85 million members in 165 countries.
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The vote, which came after nine hours of debate among the bishops, clergy and laity who make up the General Assembly, agreed that the independent service of the trial would be based on a text known as the Prayer of Love and Faith. .

They are a collection of prayers, readings and other materials for same-sex couples who “love each other and wish to thank and testify to that love by faith before God,” the church said.