Church of England Under Pressure After Diocese Votes to Bless Same-Sex Unions

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(PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/HANS MUSIL)The Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of All England and religious leader of the Church of England.

The diocese of Hereford in the United Kingdom has voted to back services and prayers to bless same-sex unions, putting pressure on the Church of England to abandon its institutional opposition to same-sex marriage.

In this week’s vote, the governing synod of the diocese, which has over 400 church buildings, 356 parishes and 84 schools and academies, called on the country’s Anglican leaders to create a set of formal services and prayers to bless those who have had a same-sex marriage or civil partnership, The Times reported.

“Given that the Church of England in part defines its doctrine through its authorized liturgies [or services], even if this service did not amount to a change in marriage, it would increase pressure toward such a change,” the Hereford Bishop’s Council told synod members before the vote.

The proposal will now be put to the General Synod, which will meet in February.

With 3.9 percent of the local population attending services at least once a month in churches under the diocese, it has the highest proportion of worshippers — almost double the…

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