Church of England blessing services for same-sex couples unlikely before 2025: ‘We don’t all agree’

Bishop of London Dame Sarah Mullallyly

The Bishop of London has said same-sex couple blessing services in the Church of England are unlikely to take place before 2025, as the church remains divided.

Dame Sarah Mullally said it was a “time of uncertainty” for the church due to division following the General Synod – the Church of England’s decision-making body – announcing in February it would continue to prevent priests ordaining same-sex marriages, but blessings would be offered instead.

Dame Mullally, 61, recognised that church is not united on same-sex blessings, but said prayers of blessing – known as Prayers of Love and Faith – for same-sex couples should be able to be used “soon” as part of Sunday morning and other services. 

However, for standalone services for the blessing of same-sex couples, she admitted they are likely to happen further in the future.

“They will need further authorisation, which will take probably into about 2025.”

She continued, as reported by Sky News: “What we recognise is that as a church, we don’t all agree on these issues. And we’ve known that all along.

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“The House of Bishops doesn’t agree, the church doesn’t agree.”

As matters progress, Mullally said she and others are focused on providing “pastoral reassurance” for people, but she reiterated that the church’s stance on same-sex marriage had not changed. 

“We are making pastoral provision for those who wish to celebrate what is good within their [same-sex] relationship”.

In January, the Church of England formally apologised for its historically “hostile” treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

Catholic Church shares approval for same-sex couple blessings

At the start of October, LGBTQ+ groups praised Pope Francis for saying that same-sex couples could have their unions blessed. 

“When you ask for a blessing, you are expressing a request for help from God, a prayer to be able to live better, a trust in a father who can help us live better,” the Pope wrote, in reply to a question asked by five cardinals about the blessing of same-sex unions. 

However, the Catholic Church is yet to respond on whether it still considers such relationships a “grave sin against God’s law.”