In February 2023, General Synod gave a ‘green light’ to proposals by the House of Bishops, to start preparing ‘prayers in love and faith’ for the blessing of same sex unions. These prayers, alongside pastoral guidance will be brought before the next General Synod in July for further interrogation.

If pursued, we believe these proposals indicate a departure from the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England. We believe the proposed prayers will create further division and broken fellowship within the Church of England and a greater tearing of the fabric of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

What happens between now and July?

In short, work will now be done to further develop the prayers as offered to General Synod, and to refine the 1991 document ‘issues in human sexuality’. These are likely to be brought back to General Synod in July – at which point there will be an opportunity for the General Synod to interrogate them and either to endorse/reject/refine them.

Where does this leave orthodox evangelicals up and down the country?

Many of us will be feeling a profound sense of dismay. The Church of England now appears set on a course to reject our historic and biblical understanding of sex and marriage in favour of a more Western individualist understanding.

For some people, though they are profoundly dismayed by this decision, they will feel they have no choice other than to ‘keep going on as normal’ in their local churches and parishes. For many of them, the implications of what has been decided at General Synod may not become apparent – at least for some time.

For others, you might be asking the question, ‘Should I stay or should I go?’. Whilst CEEC acknowledges that some might feel in good conviction, and they need to now leave the Church of England in order to join some other denomination, we encourage you to holdfast, for the moment at least, while we use a whole range of ‘good protests’ to bring the bishops and General Synod to a discussion around the provisions that we will need if we are to remain and flourish within the Church of England.

Good protest

It is with enormous sadness that CEEC is now calling on evangelical churches and clergy to join in ‘good protest’. Not to offer pushback on the situation in which we now find ourselves will be received as a willingness to acquiesce.

All of us reading this are peaceable Anglicans, who love our local church and want nothing more than to be able to share the gospel with the men, women and children in our communities. The idea of ‘stirring things up’ is almost anathema to us.

At the same time, not to contend against such an obvious and significant departure from biblical teaching would mean that we are accepting a departure from the faith as we have received it,  and failing to hold on to the gospel that is good news for all men, women and children, and the massive disappointment to Christians around the world, in countries where their stand for the gospel has cost them dearly, even to persecution and death.

CEEC is therefore calling on every minister, warden, PCC and lay member who is, in good conscience, unable to accept the introduction of a doctrine of blessing sexually active relationships outside of marriage to take some action.

Of course, every parish and context is different – so whether you are reading this as a minister or a lay person, you will need to work out what is both possible and appropriate in your own context.