Wanstead reverend hails Church of England report on same-sex marriage as ‘significant step’

Rev Dr Jack Dunn at his Wanstead church

Rev Dr Jack Dunn at his Wanstead church - Credit: Archant

The Church of England clergy have rejected a report which said that only a man and woman could marry in church.

Members of the church’s ruling body - known as the General Synod - voted not to “take note” of a report on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, after a debate last week.

The report, by the House of Bishops, called for the church to adopt a “fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” towards gay people – but not to change its opposition to equal marriage.

Under the rules of the Synod, the report needed the support of all three houses - bishops, clergy and laity.

It was supported overwhelmingly by bishops by 43 to one and the House of Laity (ordinary members of the church) backed it by 106 votes to 83.

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But the clergy, made up of vicars, rectors and priests,voted narrowly against it, by 100 to 93, with two abstentions.

More than 400 church leaders attended Church Hall in Westminster on Wednesday, including Rev Jack Dunn, the Rector of Wanstead, who lives in the borough with his partner Josh and three children.

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He said: “I think it is a very significant step in the life of the church.

“People who say that they [the bishops] are outdated do them an injustice.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury was quite clear when he gave the last speech of the night in terms of the message that the bishops are listening to what was said.

“I think this debate was a big step and the Synod sent a very clear message.”

After the debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who supported the report, said:“The current report is not the end of the story.

“We will as the bishops think again and go on thinking.

“We will seek to do better.”

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