Queen tells Church of England leaders to 'grapple' with same-sex marriage

Picture Partnership/Westminster Abbey

The Queen has called on leaders of the Church of England to "grapple" with issues such as same-sex marriage.

Speaking at the inauguration of the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England, she said: "The last Synod will be particularly remembered for the way in which, after prolonged reflection and conversation, even in the midst of deep disagreements, it was able to approve the legislation to enable women to be consecrated as bishops.

"This new Synod too will have to grapple with the difficult issues confronting our Church and our world. On some of these there will be many different views."

She was understood to be referring to issues such as same-sex marriage and human sexuality. The church is deeply divided over these issues which are expected to dominate the agenda from next July onwards.

She called the synod to "the pursuit of Christian unity". She said: "St Paul reminds us that all Christians, as ambassadors for Christ, are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.

The Queen said: "Spreading God's word and the onerous but rewarding task of peacemaking and conflict resolution are important parts of that ministry."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also hinted at the difficulties ahead when he told the Synod it will have to "discern the mind of Christ for the Church of England."

He said that this Synod has gathered at "a moment of great uncertainty and conflict in our world" and that the solutions would be "neither simple, nor quick."