Joint Press Release from inclusive groups

On 20 November 2023 a joint press release was issued by the General Synod Gender and Sexuality Group (GSGSG) and seventeen other inclusive groups, including The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England (‘Equal’). Its purpose is to “welcome the decision of General Synod to endorse the proposal[s] of the House of Bishops” while also stressing the need to go much further and to bring in equal marriage in church without delay.

You can download a PDF of the press release here:

The text of the press release is given in the box panel below.

20 November 2023

We welcome the decision of General Synod to endorse the proposal of the House of Bishops to authorise the Prayers of Love and Faith for public use, including the trial use of standalone services under the Bishop of Oxford’s helpful amendment, and to continue the wider work of pastoral guidance and provision. This continues the hopeful direction of travel set by February’s historic vote towards greater inclusion of LGBTQIA+ members of the Church of England.

Of course, many of us would wish for much greater steps, much sooner, including equal marriage in church. And we are also saddened by the hostile and negative manner in which many have engaged with the process, including the simplistic use of Scripture and appeal to narrow legal points. We look to the House of Bishops to issue new pastoral guidance for ministry, as agreed by Synod last February, and hope this will make generous space for LGBTQIA+ clergy to marry at their discretion, and for priests whose marriages are recognised in their own Province to be given PTO for England. We also look forward to engaging with the formal process for permanent authorisation of the Prayers under Canon B2, whereby all dioceses will be drawn into the consultation. The fuller discussion of all the issues involved can only be better for the integrity and honesty of the Church in all its diversity.

Our response to that diversity is now inspired by the beautiful concluding speech of the Bishop of London, noting that whilst she was now excluded from others’ tables, they were not excluded from hers, and that if she were to be found with those shut outside the door, she expected to find Jesus there. We hope to speak for many shut out until now, among whom Jesus is found, and like Bishop Sarah we look to a table from which none are excluded.

In that spirit we are committed to continued work in partnership with the House of Bishops and all across the spectrum of the Church of England, to seek the broadest possible space, including pastoral provision for those opposed to change, that does not impair the unity of the one Church under God for all people.

General Synod Gender & Sexuality Group, Revd Neil Patterson and Professor Helen King
Affirming Catholicism, Revd Dr Hannah Cleugh
Affirming Catholics in Synod, co-convenors Jacqueline Stamper and Margaret Sheather
The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, Revd Nigel Pietroni
Changing Attitude England, Revd Colin Coward MBE and Revd Robert Thompson
Church for Everyone, Revd Dr Nicholas Bundock and Revd Augustine Tanner-Ihm
Clergy Consultation
Diverse Church, Jade Irwin
The Evangelical Forum on General Synod, co-convenors Simon Friend, Ven. Nikki Groarke and Ven. Malcolm Chamberlain
House of Rainbow CIC, Revd Jide Macaulay
Inclusive Church, Fr Dan Barnes-Davies
Inclusive Evangelicals, Revd David Runcorn and Revd Jody Stowell
Modern Church, Professor Elaine Graham
MoSAIC, Very Revd Joe Hawes and Revd Trevor Wyatt
OneBodyOneFaith, Luke Dowding and Revd Jo Winn-Smith
Society of Catholic Priests, Fr Ian Gomersall, Provincial Rector
Student Christian Movement, Revd Naomi Nixon
Women and the Church, Revd Martine Oborne


Revd Neil Patterson,, 07933 741760
Professor Helen King,, 07799 535179