Traditionalist bishops commended over opposition to CofE's same-sex blessing plans

The orthodox Anglican movement, Gafcon, has commended 11 bishops in the Church of England for opposing plans to introduce prayers for same-sex couples.

The Prayers of Love and Faith are being debated this week by the Church of England's parliamentary body, General Synod.

The House of Bishops commended the prayers in October but 11 bishops publicly dissented, including the Bishop of Blackburn, Philip North, the Bishop of Lancaster, Jill Duff, the Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, and the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

The Gafcon Primates Council issued a statement ahead of the Synod and following its meeting in Uxbridge, England, last week in which it said, "We especially commend those English bishops who have distanced themselves from the egregious recommendations of the House of Bishops."

The council lamented "the slow, but relentless, moral decay in parts of the Anglican Communion where the world's values have been endorsed and embraced, replacing the clear teaching of God's word written".

Gafcon provinces are being urged to consider withdrawing all links with English dioceses whose bishops support the proposals.

"We also extend the right hand of fellowship to and support all bishops, clergy and laity who oppose these revisionist doctrines and courageously uphold the teaching of Christ on the sanctity of marriage as God has ordained it (Matthew 19:4-6)," said the council.

Gafcon leaders reiterated that they have no plans to leave the Anglican Communion but instead remain committed to "the task of resetting the Communion" in partnership with another traditionalist body, the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA).

The statement added that Gafcon leaders will not be attending the 2024 Primates Meeting convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome "given the failure of the so-called Instruments of Communion".

They "encourage all orthodox Primates to join us in this stand against those who support a revisionist agenda".