Statement from the Alliance after July 2024 General Synod

10th July 2024

We were saddened that, on 8th July, General Synod approved the latest LLF motion. Despite assurances that this is just one more step in an unfolding process, we believe this was in fact a decisive moment. Stand-alone services were approved and are at the very least indicative of a change in the doctrine of marriage. A pathway to clergy entering same-sex marriage was initiated, and clergy SSM is a definitive change in doctrine. Indeed, it is clear that some members of the House of Bishops are openly advocating such a change.

Voting was again very close, the motion being passed by just 56% of bishops, 52% of clergy and 51% of laity - a very weak mandate for change. Significantly, more bishops than ever before felt unable to support the motion: while 22 voted in favour, 17 either voted against (12) or abstained (5). As we wrote to the Archbishops in a letter on 26th June, we therefore “have no choice but rapidly to establish what would in effect be a new de facto 'parallel Province' within the Church of England and to seek pastoral oversight from bishops who remain faithful to orthodox teaching on marriage and sexuality”.

We are not without hope. The Archbishops and the Bishop of Leicester (Lead LLF Bishop) all stated in the debate that they want the Alliance to know we are a valued part of the Church of England; and we are thankful to them for their warm words. However, we do not believe it is possible for us to flourish within the Church of England's current structures. We need a structurally secure space for the over 2000 clergy supporting the Alliance, and the churches they represent (some 37% of total C of E church attendance and 57% of attendance of those under the age of 18). We have asked the Archbishops and the Bishop of Leicester to demonstrate their desire for us to feel a valued part of the Church of England through actions and not just words, however warm.

Stand-alone services will not be authorised for use until provision has been more fully developed - at the earliest, this will come back to Synod in February 2025. In the coming months, at the invitation of the Bishop of Leicester, we will be engaging in direct negotiations with the House of Bishops. We have made clear that we are not leaving the Church of England or the Anglican Communion. We are hopeful for what will take place in the coming months, and we look to the God of hope to fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in him (Romans 15:13).

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