Briefing: Church of England trial services for same-sex blessings

The Church of England has agreed to introduce standalone services for blessing same-sex couples, for a trial period, following a marathon 10-hour debate at the general synod. But the church is deeply divided, with just four votes in it as the final proposal passed.

In this Religion Media Centre briefing, the panel spoke of their concern at the tight votes, the lack of consensus, the possibility of schism and the prospect of “years and years more” of discussion over alternative structures for people who disagree. LGBT people welcomed the outcome as a gentle, positive move forward, but they found the debate with familiar arguments against same-sex relationships were “ intensely painful”. There was a reluctance to talk of schism, but bewilderment as to how the opposing sides could still be in the same church. And there was an acknowledgment that this was a watershed moment, a shift following decades of argument.

Rosie Dawson hosted with panelists: Bishop Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster; Canon Andrew Goddard; Professor Helen King; Rev Dr Charlie Bell; Susie Leafe; Rev Dr Patrick Richmond; Ven Mark Ireland; Canon Dr Mandy Ford.

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Hannah Scott Joynt


Voice-over artist, award winning radio and TV presenter and BBC continuity announcer


Leo Devine

Leo's Local

Media and Training Consultant at Devine Media. Former BBC Journalist, Editor and Senior Leader


Rosie Dawson

Journo's Notebook

Freelance religion journalist, documentary maker and radio producer with 20+ years of experience in the BBC’s Religion and Ethics department

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