In the Diocese of London, a group of church leaders has recently launched a new deanery chapter aimed at providing support for those who oppose same-sex blessings. The group is being led by Reverend Phil Martin, who hails from St Botophs Aldersgate, located in central London. Reverend Martin will also serve as the Area Dean for this newly formed chapter.
This move comes after the Church of England announced its plans to offer prayers of blessing to same-sex couples, a move that has been met with mixed reactions from members of the church. While some have embraced the decision, others have expressed concerns about what they see as a departure from traditional Christian teachings on marriage and sexuality. Sources had it that the move is seen as a form of protest or demonstration of what they called a “structural differentiation” for those who do not go in line with the recent decision of the church to bless same-sex relationships
Rev Martin and Rev Chris Fishlock from Saint Nicholas Cole Abbey, in a video statement said: “It’s worth saying that we’re still in the very early days of thinking this new structure through. We really haven’t got everything sorted yet,” they said.
“But we did have a super encouraging time yesterday as we met together. Ten clergy gathered and we heard a short Bible reading. We prayed, we then heard a ministry update from Phil and we prayed into the various implications of the work going on at St Botolphs Aldersgate, because we want healthy Church of England ministry to continue in the City of London deanery.”
“We acknowledge that there is an urgent matter relating to the selection of candidates who want to pursue Church of England Ministry”, they added. “But who are unable to apply because of the House of Bishop’s recent departure from faithful Biblical teaching,” they said.
The group says they will “aim to provide necessary and equivalent ongoing training” for curates and will commission prospective ordinands “so that they are enabled to work within Church of England churches until such a time that their ordinations can take place”.
The new deanery chapter aims to provide a space for those who oppose same-sex blessings to come together and discuss their views. The group will also offer support and pastoral care to those who feel marginalized or excluded by the Church of England’s decision.
The launch of this new deanery chapter has been met with mixed reactions from members of the church, with some hailing it as a much-needed move towards inclusivity and others criticizing it as divisive and exclusionary. Nonetheless, the leaders of the chapter remain committed to their mission of providing support and care for those who oppose same-sex blessings.
It remains to be seen how the Church of England will respond to the formation of this new chapter, but for now, the leaders of the group are focused on providing a space where all voices can be heard and respected.