17 January 2024 - resources reference in this month's gatherings of lay and clergy to discuss the Prayers of Love and Faith are available to download below.
On 13 December Bishop Michael shared a pastoral letter with parishes, following the House of Bishops announcement on the 12 December that a selection of readings and prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and asking for God's blessing can be used in Church of England services for the first time from Sunday, 17 December. He gave an update on the process do date and shared his thoughts on how we can move forward together in Bath and Wells. This follows his address to Diocesan Synod on 25 November when he said, “for the strongest pastoral reasons, and in pursuit of the unity to which Jesus commanded us as the people of God in this diocese, I would like to make the strongest possible plea that we should all commit to make ‘opt in’ the way we do things round here. The ‘opt in’ approach I have in mind is that the prayers would only be used be used by those ministers who wished to do so, and who have the full backing of their church’s PCC.”
Recognising the fear and uncertainty about what the future holds and the fact that the full pastoral guidance has not been published in full, he added, “My second proposal is that we should work together here in Bath and Wells to develop our own guidance in a number of areas.”
Read the latest news related to inclusion and diversity from Bath and Wells.
The announcement of 9 October follows the decision of the Church of England’s General Synod in February 2023 to welcome proposals which would enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing. At General Synod on 15 November it was agreed that special services of prayer and dedication asking for God’s blessing for same-sex couples should be introduced soon in the Church of England on a trial basis. It follows a vote in favour of a motion containing an amendment tabled by the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, to bring forward the standalone services based around texts known as Prayers of Love and Faith.
Prior to this, all church communities had been encouraged to take part in a process of learning and praying together as part of discerning a way forward for the Church in relation to matters of identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage. Any learnings, reflections and insights were then fed back to the national church. You can still access and engage with these resources on the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) Hub on the Church of England website.
- Read more about Synod's decision and a letter from our bishops.
- Read about Diocesan Synod 18 March, including Bishop Michael's presidential speech.
- Read the Bishops' letter, responding concerns about the LLF process (March 2023)
Who to contact
Our LLF chaplains are here to listen, care and pray for all involved in the LLF journey. Find out how you can benefit from their support.
If you have questions about LLF please contact:
Kate Scott, Bishops' Chaplain