Church of England's synod will not debate sexuality, prompting fury from campaigners

The Church of England's ruling synod will not debate the possibility of formal services to bless same-sex couples at its next meeting this July, prompting fury from campaigners.

A motion calling for official prayers and a dedication service for gay couples after their civil partnership or marriage has been passed by Hereford's diocesan synod – the equivalent of a local council. It is on a list of other items to be discussed by the national general synod but has been passed over for the forthcoming meeting in York.

ReutersThe Church of England's general synod is its ruling body and will meet in York in July.

Instead a major focus for the 483 members of synod, meeting from Friday 6 to Tuesday 10 July, will be responding to clergy sex abuse as the independent inquiry heavily criticised the Church's historic response.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the IICSA panel he had 'learnt to be ashamed again of the Church' after hearing of survivors' accounts of abuse.

He warned abuse by priests would 'destroy the Church' if it continued and said those who failed to protect children would 'answer on the day of judgment for that'.

Members of synod will hear a presentation on the Church's response to safeguarding on Saturday morning followed by an opportunity to ask questions and then a full debate.

They will then split into groups for 'seminars and workshops' on a 'number of topics'. It is not yet clear what those will be but issues over sexuality could be included.

Jayne Ozanne, a leading member of the synod, said it was 'appalling' there was no formal debate on sexuality.

'It shows a total failure of leadership in my opinion, and a desire to "overly manage" Synod,' she said.

'There is not one mention of the word sexuality, despite all the calls there have been for debates. I am sure we will be fobbed off with some form of group work – but that is not what any of the synod members have been asking for, from either side.' 

Diocesan motions like Hereford's are usually debated in the order which they were first passed, meaning several others are in the queue first. However the synod's business committee can fast track a motion if it is deemed of particular importance or urgency. 

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