CANTERBURY, England (RNS) With little more than two months to go before Britain’s first same-sex marriage, the College of Bishops issued a statement saying that “no change” to the Church of England’s teaching on marriage is proposed or envisioned.

England’s best-known cathedral and mother church of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. Photo by Trevor Grundy

England’s best-known cathedral and mother church of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. Photo by Trevor Grundy

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The statement came after an all-day meeting at Church House in central London Monday (Jan. 27) attended by 90 bishops and eight women participant observers.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss the recommendations of the Pilling Report on human sexuality that was published in 2013. That report was the result of a recommendation made by church leaders at the end of the Lambeth Conference in 2008 that Anglicans should embark on a discussion process to help heal the rift on the subject of full rights for Christian homosexuals.

“The House of Bishops will be meeting again next month to consider its approach when same sex marriage becomes lawful in England and Wales,” the statement reads.

Polls here show 50 to 60 percent of the population in England and Wales supports gay marriage. The Scottish Parliament has approved in principle legislation to introduce same-sex marriage.

The bishops met in the shadow of the recent passage of anti-gay legislation in African countries with two of that continent’s largest Anglican churches — Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, with 169 million people, and Uganda.

Most African countries have made homosexuality illegal, including countries that rely heavily on Western aid and tourists.

Meanwhile, a column by The Guardian newspaper’s Andrew Brown said Sunday that although there is a small but determined faction within the Church of England that thinks same-sex marriages defy biblical teachings, “there will be clergy queueing to marry their same-sex partners when this becomes legal in April, when the question can no longer be dodged.”



  1. Pavel Kwiekowski

    This will no doubt precipitate another wave of Anglican clergy and laity swimmiing either the Tiber or the Dardenelles. The Anglican Church seems hell bent (no pun intended) on racing to extinction in the UK. In the USA two Episcopalian (Anglican) congregations in northern Virginia, which trace their founding back to colonial times, aligned themselves under the spiritual jurisdiction of an Anglican archbishop in Africa. Interesting since early colonial/post-colonial vestrymen of these parishes, including George Washington, were slave holders. How the world turns.

    • Mr Kwiekowski, you’ve got it right, and you’ve got recent history proving your point. The problem: these clueless congregants led by even more clueless clergy do not think that there are any demands on life in order to protect persons in particular and society in general. Success or doing right and good is equated by these people with “feeling good.” They emote first–and never get to the serious thinking stage.

  2. Pavel & Duane: No, you’ve got it 100% WRONG.

    The Episcopal Church has discerned (via Scripture, Tradition and Reason) the Godliness of same-sex marriage, and has NOT faced any mass “waves” of defections across the Tiber, “Dardenelles” (clever) or the Southern Baptist gather-by-the-river. Rather, it is we in TEC ourselves who, having “come over Jordan” (via our own often painful years of discernment) have discovered “milk and honey on the other side”. Come on, Mother Church (CofE), join us! Maranatha!

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