Magazine article The Christian Century

Swedish Lutherans Warned by Anglicans on Gay Issue

Magazine article The Christian Century

Swedish Lutherans Warned by Anglicans on Gay Issue

Article excerpt

Leaders of the (Anglican) Church of England have warned the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden that if it agrees to expand the concept of marriage to include same-sex couples, it risks creating "immediate and negative" consequences for ecumenical relations.

"Although there is a continuing debate among Anglicans about human sexuality, the teaching and discipline of the Church of England, like that of the Anglican Communion as a whole ... is that it is not right either to bless same-sex sexual relationships or to ordain those who are involved in them," wrote Church of England bishops Christopher Hill and John Hind in a June 26 letter to Swedish Lutheran archbishop Anders Wejryd, it was recently learned.

The comments from the English bishops followed a letter from Wejryd saying that the Swedish parliament is in the process of deciding on a new marriage law that will include heterosexual and homosexual couples.

"There is a majority among the bishops, in the doctrinal commission and in the central board, for expanding the concept of marriage to include same-sex couples," stated Wejryd. "This probably also goes for the general synod." A decision is likely to be made by the church in October.

The Church of Sweden has stated, however, that it believes the term marriage should be used only for heterosexual unions.

Bishop Wejryd's letter was sent in March to churches that belong to the Porvoo Communion, an agreement between British and Irish Anglican churches and Lutheran churches in the Nordic and Baltic countries. …

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