Norfolk bishops back draft same-sex prayers
Prayers asking for God’s blessing on same-sex couples as they give thanks for their civil marriage or civil partnership have been published today by the Church of England and the three bishops in the Diocese of Norwich have given the proposals their backing.
The draft texts, proposed by the bishops of the Church of England, will be considered by General Synod next month alongside other proposals in response to a six-year process of listening, learning and discernment on questions of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage known as Living in Love and Faith.
In a letter written jointly by the Bishops of Norwich, Thetford and Lynn, they write: “All three of us voted in favour of these documents at the College of Bishops, believing them to be a realistic step on a journey. The documents received almost unanimous support from across the theological spectrum of bishops.
“We encourage you to take time to study the documents and see their creative possibilities. We believe this will be time well spent as the detail is important and these matters are inevitably more nuanced than media headlines. In this, it’s important to bear in mind that the consensus was not achieved among the bishops without difficulty, nor without some concessions on all sides, given the diverse views represented.
“We treasure and value the contribution that LGBTI+ clergy and laity make to our life together in the diocese. We join the full apology to LGBTI+ people in the bishops’ letter and will carry on seeking the justice of God’s kingdom.
“We continue to affirm the gifts of Holy Matrimony, singleness and celibacy within the Christian tradition, whilst also believing that the Holy Spirit has been at work in enabling the Church of England to have a much richer, open and honest conversation about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage through the Living in Love and Faith process.
“We recognise that the Holy Spirit has enabled something remarkable to happen during these last six years. We too have learnt much and grown in our understanding.
The letter is signed by Bishop of Norwich Graham Usher, Bishop of Thetford Alan Winton and Bishop of Lynn Jane Steen
Read the full letter and documents here.