The Dean of Jersey called the Church of England's recent vote to allow blessings for same-sex couples a "major advance" - but that the legwork is still to come.
Last week, the Church of England's General Synod - or National Assembly- engaged in an eight-hour debate and eventually passed the motion entitled 'Living in Love and Faith'.
This motion proposed that Church of England Priests be allowed to bless the civil marriages of same-sex couples. The motion was passed by 250 to 181 votes.
Alongside this, the synod agreed that the Church would apologise for any harm caused to LGBTQ+ people and has welcomed a review of a ban on the clergy entering into same-sex civil marriages.
The Very Reverend Michael Keirle, the Dean of Jersey, was present at the General Synod. He said: "The debate was incredibly gracious and civil. Extremely gracious considering the broad range of views."
Pictured: Church of England priests are to be allowed to bless the civil marriages of same-sex couples.
The vote drew disappointment from both sides of the debate, with pro-LGBT+ campaigners such as Guernsey-born Jayne Ozanne calling the apology offered by the Church to LGBTQ+ people "meaningless".
However, the Dean was keen to elaborate on big a step forward this is for the Church of England. He said: "This is a major advance, especially considering this isn't accepted by most major churches in the UK, or by a number of the major world faiths. It's worth remembering that the Church has held on to its doctrine for thousands of years, and same-sex marriage was only legalised in 2013."
He added: "I don't think it's just about same-sex marriage, it's about diversity in the church and same-sex marriage is just part of that... It's a repentance of the failure of the Church to welcome LGBT people and the harm they have experienced from the Church."
The Dean was keen to point out that there is more work to be done - while this motion has been agreed in principle, "the process is not complete".
Pictured: Full pastoral guidelines will be agreed in June.
At the next Synod, which will take place in York this July, full pastoral guidelines will be announced; including guidelines for priests who may be willing to perform the service despite an unwillingness from their Church and visa versa.
In the meantime, the Dean said: "We should carefully, sensitively, pause and reflect on the debate."
As to how the news will be taken by his colleagues in the religious community, the Dean said: "While there will be some who will be more than happy to perform the blessings, there will be some that won't and that's completely legitimate. We have freedom of religion and freedom of speech."
Reverend Marin Evans, the rector of St. Saviour's Church, was extremely positive about the result of the Synod. He said: "I'm in favour of it. I've always been a liberal theologian. In my view, love is love is love and should celebrate that love whatever form it takes."
He added: "I'm delighted we can make this step along the line."
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