Dear All,

At the PCC meeting on May 20th I asked for the Church Council’s support in offering Prayers of Love and Faith (PL&F) for those in same sex relationships.

The Church of England has struggled for many years to maintain its commitment to a ‘traditional’ view of Holy Matrimony whilst also recognising all that is good within same sex relationships. The Church’s discussions have not always been edifying and firmly held views on this issue have, at times, threatened to divide the church with people of good will defending views held in good conscience on both sides of the debate. That said, the PL&F have now been commended to the church by the House of Bishops as an attempt to hold these two things together and clergy have a decision to make as to whether they will use them or not.

This suite of prayers can only be used within existing acts of worship – there is no provision for a separate ‘stand alone service. It is up to each vicar (not the PCC) to decide whether to offer these prayers to couples. Good practice however would suggest that clergy consult with their Church Councils before choosing to make use of this provision: this has been done. No cleric can be compelled to use the prayers against their conscience.

I cannot imagine a queue of couples forming to make use of this extremely limited provision but making ‘no decision’ is not an option. And so, same sex couples with a connection to the parish who are in committed relationships can, if they wish, now approach me to discuss how their relationships might be celebrated and prayed for in our churches.

I am, as ever, open to meet with anyone who would like to talk about this or indeed any other issue.

Alec