apology | 

Church of England formally apologises for ‘shameful’ treatment of LGBTQI+ community

It comes after the church this week said it will bless same-sex civil marriages for the first time

People take part in a demonstration for trans rights outside the UK Government Office at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh.© PA

By Aine Fox and Tim Sigsworth, PASunday World

A formal apology has been issued by the Church of England for the “shameful” times LGBTQI+ people have been “rejected or excluded”.

The Bishops of the Church of England have penned a letter admitting LGBTQI+ people have been “failed” at times but they should be and are “welcome and valued”.

It comes after the church this week said it will bless same-sex civil marriages for the first time – though its position on gay marriage will not change and same-sex couples will still be unable to marry at church.

The pastoral letter, published on Friday, says: “We want to apologise for the ways in which the Church of England has treated LGBTQI+ people – both those who worship in our churches and those who do not.

“For the times we have rejected or excluded you, and those you love, we are deeply sorry. The occasions on which you have received a hostile and homophobic response in our churches are shameful and for this we repent.

“As we have listened, we have been told time and time again how we have failed LGBTQI+ people. We have not loved you as God loves you, and that is profoundly wrong.

“We affirm, publicly and unequivocally, that LGBTQI+ people are welcome and valued: we are all children of God.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is addressing a press conference on Friday at Lambeth Palace Library ahead of the Church General Synod next month.

Of the decision on same-sex marriage, he said it is a bid to “seek the common good” but admitted it will “go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others”.

The plans, to be outlined in a report to the General Synod, will allow same-sex couples to attend church for services including prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and God’s blessing following a legal marriage ceremony.

The synod will be asked to discuss the proposals in detail during its meeting from February 6 to 9, with the main debate on the proposals set for February 8.

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