The Church of England has formally apologised for its “shameful” treatment of LGBTQI+ people.
The Bishops of the Church of England wrote a letter admitting LGBTQI+ people have “received a hostile and homophobic response” at times but should be and are “welcome and valued”.
It comes after the church said it would refuse to allow same-sex couples to get married in its churches, but would bless same-sex civil marriages for the first time.
The letter 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.”
Decision will ‘go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the decision on same-sex marriage was 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, which will 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 when it meets from 6 to 9 February. The main debate on the proposals is set for 8 February.
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