I am of course aware of the letter that a number of clergy in this Diocese has signed regarding civil partnerships in our churches. Their request to General Synod is based on very proper pastoral concern and it is right that this matter continues to be discussed openly.
New arrangements relating to religious premises and civil partnerships were laid before Parliament on 8th November 2011 and came into force on 5th December 2011. The Church’s position under those arrangements is that no Church of England religious premises may become “approved” for the registration of civil partnerships without there having been a formal decision by the General Synod to allow this.
It is quite legitimate that this issue is being raised. However, the unity of the Church and our core mission particularly in these sobering and challenging economic times, must remain paramount. I hope the discussion will continue in a prayerful and respectful way, whilst not distracting from the important ministry our churches are carrying out in their communities.
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.