The church said the bishops plan to issue a formal apology to LGBTQ people on Friday for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have felt within the church.
He said he would issue pastoral guidance to his ministers and congregations and urge them to welcome same-sex couples “without reservation and with joy.”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, apologized for “the way LGBTQI+ people and their loved ones have been treated by the church which, above all, should recognize everyone as precious and created in the image of God.”
“We are deeply sorry and ashamed and want to take this opportunity to start over in the spirit of repentance that our faith teaches us,” he said. “This is not the end of that journey, but we have reached a milestone, and I hope that these prayers of love and faith can provide us with a way to celebrate and affirm same-sex relationships.”
Cottrell said the proposals won’t be “what everyone wants,” but additional changes will require legislative review and there was currently no majority in support of such a change.
Jayne Ozanne, a leading LGBTQ activist in the church, said the bishops’ decision was “totally despicable.”
“I cannot believe that five years of pain and trauma have brought us here. We have received countless apologies over the years, but no action to stop the harmful discrimination,” she tweeted.
The General Synod is expected to discuss the proposals in detail during its February 6-9 meeting.