The article I read titled “Church of England Stance on Gay Marriage in Disarray After Vote” from NBC News discusses the conflict within the wider Anglican communion over their views on gay marriage since 2003. Liberal Anglican churches in the west (especially the Episcopal Church in the U.S.) and more conservative Anglican churches (mainly in Africa) have taken different stances on this issue. The Church of England specifically is now divided as well. In January, the House of Bishops issued a report stating that the Church of England would keep its teachings that marriage is between a man and a woman, but the church will also be welcoming and loving toward members of the LBGT community. The report also stated that the Church would no longer bless same-sex marriages. The House of Bishops is only one of 3 parts of the synod, or the Church’s legislature. Another part of the synod, the House of Clergy, voted against this report, so it could not be endorsed by the synod. The vote against the bishops’ carefully worded position on same-sex marriage has caused the synod’s stance to be a little murky.
In my congregation visit at an Anglican church, I had the chance to hear a little bit of the history of the conflicts in the Anglican communion over their stance on same-sex marriage and homosexuality in general. I find it interesting that such a large, established church is having so much conflict and confusion over choosing a stance on this topic. If the ruling legislature of the Church is not sure of their stance, then many of the 85 million members worldwide who probably adopt the Church’s stances as their own are probably very confused about it all. After hearing about all the different congregations that other students went to, I learned that many churches are more liberal and more inclusive than I had previously thought. It will be interesting to see how the Church of England resolves their conflict over this issue.