Lord Carey Makes Prayer Plea as General Synod Prepares for Gay Debate

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, has backed a plea by Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON) for churches to open their doors for prayer on 28 February 2007 - the day the General Synod of the Church of England debates two Private Members Motions (PMMs) related to the rights of so-called 'Gay Christians' in the church.

|PIC1|CCFON, a network of tens of thousands of Christians run by the public policy arm of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, is urging vicars, pastors, elders, ministers and all Christian leaders to make their church available for prayer.

Lord Carey and CCFON are encouraging Christians from all denominations to drop into a local church sometime between 9.30am to 7pm on February 28 (Synod's hours), to "ask for God's guidance for Synod members, and that they would make a public stand, backing marriage and the authority of Scripture".

The General Synod is due to debate two PMMs, one from the Revd Mary Gilbert from the Lichfield diocese, the other from the Revd Paul Perkin, Southwark diocese.

The Revd Mary Gilbert is urging Synod to: "acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire".

The Revd Paul Perkin is calling on Synod to agree that: "the Government's Civil Partnership Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of the relationship of marriage".

Andrea Minichiello Williams of CCFON said: "Whilst it is vital that all churches offer a welcome to everyone, regardless of their sexuality, the Church must stand by its Biblical beliefs, as it has done since it was first established. In a society whose values are swayed without an anchor, it is vital that the church continues to promote marriage as the bedrock of a solid society - and continues to teach that God designed sexual activity to be enjoyed within the faithful relationship of a marriage, between a man and a woman.

"We call upon all Christians, whatever their denomination, to pray earnestly that the General Synod will use this unique day to take a strong stand for marriage, and for the authority of scripture by supporting the Revd Perkin's PMM (and declining to support the Revd Gilbert's PMM). We are delighted that Lord Carey had agreed to back our campaign and hope all diocesan Bishops will follow his lead."

Paul Eddy, a member of General Synod from the Winchester diocese said: "There is no doubt these two PMMs are the most controversial to be debated by Synod since the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood back in the 90s.

"There are very deeply felt views on both sides of the debate, and I hope that through the combined prayers of millions of Christians the Synod will be able to model a sincere, yet gracious way of debating hugely emotive issues, whilst being able to hold firm to the clear Biblical teaching of the Church."