London (Uttam Hindu News): Parishes under the Church of England will allow special services for same-sex couples, including the wearing of rings, prayers, confetti and a blessing from a priest, but not formal weddings. The official teaching of the Church of England is that marriage is only between one man and one woman, the BBC reports. An amendment to support services on a trial basis was passed by a single vote on Wednesday in the General Synod, the church’s legislative body.
Its passage means that specific services of blessing, rather than just prayers, can be permitted within the general church service. Although there is no set timescale for starting temporary testing services, it is understood these could be authorized in the coming weeks with the first services in the new year. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Stephen Croft, who has campaigned for a change in the church’s stance, said he was “delighted”.
Those who come to receive these prayers will feel completely welcomed into the life of the Church, he said. The Church of England’s official position on marriage conflicts with its Anglican counterpart in Scotland – the Scottish Episcopal Church – and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, both of which allow same-sex marriage, the BBC reports. The Anglican Church in Wales has held services of blessing for same-sex couples, but does not permit same-sex marriages in the church.