From Mr Andrew Gray



The Church’s approach to its teaching on marriage is presented as something of conspiracy by the Revd Dr Peter Mullen (March 2017). As a General Synod lay representative for Norwich Diocese, I have been heavily involved in this process. It is far from being a Trojan Horse for secular liberalism. 

The General Synod is deeply divided over the issues raised by sexuality. The report by the Bishops re-affirms the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage, and the motion to ‘take note’ would have passed by an overall majority but was defeated in the House of Clergy. The Bishops voted unanimously (excluding one vote in error!) to endorse the report. They can hardly be accused of a ‘shifty gradualism’. The question facing the Church is not how it erodes traditional teaching to enable it to catch up with society; rather, it revolves around how the Church both maintains its teaching on marriage and family while at the same time accommodating same-sex couples in committed relationships. This is not a ‘paradoxical willingness to accept those who deliberately disobey Christ’s teaching’. Jesus is not recorded as saying anything on the subject of homosexuality, which is why the Church finds itself fragmenting on the subject. 

The atmosphere leading up to, and during, the ‘take note’ debate was emotive and fraught. Like many of my colleagues, I found the experience draining. If readers do want to gauge the temperature of the Synod, they may contact their representatives at any time. Otherwise, please continue to offer your prayers for all involved in the governance of the Church.