After five years of discussion and consultation regarding the Church’s position on sexuality, they met Tuesday to finalize their recommendations.
The General Synod, the Church’s equivalent of a parliament, will discuss their proposal next month.
According to a number of bishops who were present at the meeting, the Church’s teaching that Holy Matrimony can only take place between a man and a woman will not change and will not be put to a vote, BBC News was told.
However, following a civil marriage or partnership, the Church confirmed that “prayers of dedication, thanksgiving, or for God’s blessing” will be offered to same-sex couples.
England and Wales have legalized same-sex marriage since 2013. However, the Church did not alter its teaching when the law changed.
“Living in Love and Faith,” an extended period of consultation, was launched in 2017 by the Church of England.
The Bishop of Oxford became the most senior Church of England bishop to publicly support a change in the Church’s teaching in November of last year. Even though a small number of people backed him, they were still in the minority.
Campaigners for change within the Church are likely to be enraged by the Church’s refusal to propose a vote on allowing same-sex marriage.
Some have already informed BBC News that they will request that the synod reject the bishops’ proposals the following month.
“Prayers for God’s blessing”
The decision made by the bishops puts the Church of England at odds with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which allows same-sex weddings, and The Scottish Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican equivalent in Scotland.
While same-sex weddings are not permitted in church, the Anglican Church of Wales has authorized a blessing service for gay couples.
The BBC anticipates that English bishops will recommend the adoption of “prayers for God’s blessing” for gay couples in civil marriages.
The church’s controversial 1991 document requiring clergy in same-sex relationships to remain single will be scrapped. BBC News was informed by a number of bishops that the Church will also issue an apology for the way it has excluded LGBT+ people.
There had been “substantial progress,” according to a liberal bishop at the meeting.
They said, “It’s evolutionary.” The journey is not over.”
According to a conservative bishop: We are being sincere about the fact that we do not agree on these issues. However, we are not giving up on walking together.
Piotr Baczyk, 27, and Charlie Bell, 33, live in south-east London with their partner. Charlie is a priest. Until the church allows gay weddings, they have been delaying getting married.
He stated that the bishops’ failure to propose a vote on same-sex marriages caused them “deep disappointment.”
He stated to BBC News, “It leaves same-sex couples in a bit of a limbo and also as second-class citizens.”
“We’re still telling gay couples that their relationships are less important than relationships between people of different sexes,” the statement reads.
However, he stated that they would continue their efforts to influence the Church’s teaching regarding gay marriage.
He stated: It’s not over yet. The bishops are very much mistaken if they believe this will resolve the current situation.
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, told BBC Radio 4’s Today that a friend who was gay had died before the Church could acknowledge his civil partnership in any way.
He stated, “All that has changed now.” For the first time, people in civil partnerships or same-sex marriages can visit the Church, have their relationships acknowledged, be dedicated, and receive God’s blessing.
“No, it is not the same-sex marriage that everyone wants, and it is not everything everyone wants.”
But he said that the Church had made a “real step forward” with it.
He stated, “What I want to emphasize is that people who have entered into a same-sex marriage or who are in a civil partnership will be welcomed into the Church at a service of dedication and acknowledgment of that relationship” with these proposals. That is a departure from our current situation.
The position “reflects the diversity of views in the Church of England on questions of sexuality,” according to the Most Rev’d Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.
He stated: Although I have no doubt that what we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others, it is my hope that it will be received in a spirit of generosity and concern for the welfare of the community.
“Most importantly, I hope it can provide a means for the Church of England to publicly and unambiguously convey to all Christians, particularly LGBTQI+ individuals, that you are welcome and a valued and valuable component of the body of Christ,” she said.