I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.                       

Ephesians 3: 17-19

On Monday 9 October 2023 the House of Bishops confirmed that prayers to be used in ordinary church services to affirm relationships between same sex couples would be commended for use very soon: see here. Structures for special services for same-sex couples, based on those prayers, should go forward to be formally authorised under canon law. The majority of the 108 bishops in the Church of England supported these proposals.

Twelve bishops broke ranks and said that they could not agree: see here. Other churches and groups have also expressed their profound disagreement. We know that this will hurt and disappoint the LGBTQIA+ Christian community. At St Mark's we lament this and the increased suffering that our LGBTQIA+ friends and family will face.

Throughout all the ministries of St Mark's, we continue to encounter people who have experienced hurt and pain due to their sexuality or gender. We firmly believe that exclusion on the grounds of sexuality or gender clearly goes against who Jesus is and the wider biblical narrative. 

We are proud to be an evangelical and inclusive church, and affirm all healthy, life-giving relationships. We will continue to proclaim the liberating gospel of Jesus who came to set people free from fear, shame and oppressive religious teaching. While we value upholding the unity of the Church of England, we refuse to do so at the expense of causing harm to LGBTQIA+ individuals.

We will continue to welcome all and deepen our love for God and love for each other. There is a place for you, whoever you are and whatever your journey, at St Marks.

The prayers were commended for use from the 17th December 2023. If you would like to receive prayer, please contact us; we would be delighted to be part of this special step in your relationship.