Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
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Church of England summer synod to be dominated by same-sex marriage debate
The July synod will see small groups spend two full days in private plenary sessions, discussing the two long-contested issues.
The synod will be off-limits to all members of the public, and members will be prohibited from disclosing the content of their discussions on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media networks, the Church of England said.
Concerns surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage have dominated the church for over two decades, despite the legalisation of gay marriage in the UK in 2014, and the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005.
As a result of long-held beliefs that the Bible preaches that marriage is strictly ‘a union between one man and one woman’, the Church of England refuses to perform same-sex wedding services in its churches – and prohibits its own gay clergy from tying the knot.
The synod will feature “shared conversations” on the same-sex issue, involving 480 elected bishops, clergy and parishioners devoting a full half of their summer assembly to the topic.
The Church of England’s Director of Reconciliation, David Porter, said: “We may not agree, but we are listening to one another.”
Mr Porter claimed that the church faces a considerable challenge over how to respond to cultural changes, highlighting that the synod’s system of “shared conversations” would allow Church of England members to hear different perspectives and, at the very least, learn to “disagree well”.
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