The Archbishop of York has spoken in support of a "compromise" in proposals to allow same-sex marriage in the clergy.

The Church of England's General Synod members met at the University of York this week, from July 5 to July 9. 

The General Synod discusses and passes legislation affecting the Church of England, formulates new forms of worship, debates matters of national and international importance, and approves the annual budget for the work of the Church at national level.

At this year's meeting, the Synod supported a motion signalling approval for a package of proposals and prayer designed to help hold the Church together amid deep disagreements over questions of sexuality.

The package of proposals includes work to provide a timetable towards a decision on clergy in same-sex civil marriages.

Speaking in the debate, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, acknowledged there are deep disagreements within the church on questions of sexuality and that the proposals would not fully satisfy any group – but represented an "Anglican way forward".

"What’s before us is a compromise," he said.

"No parish, no priest has to offer these prayers but once the detail has been worked out – not yet done, we’re still on a journey – standalone service can take place and [for] those who for reasons of conscience and theological conviction cannot support this, delegated and extended episcopal ministry for pastoral care, sacramental care and teaching ministry will be put in place.


"What’s before us isn’t what everyone wants …. but it is an Anglican way forward."

The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, the lead bishop for the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith process, recognised that people on opposing sides of the argument about moves to recognise same-sex couples “want the best for the Church”.

"We all want the best – and yet we profoundly disagree," he said.

"So what now?

"Well maybe, just maybe, for a short period, we all have to settle for second best, and trust that, though this might grieve God, God still delights in us God’s church. Just maybe we have to accept that there are different degrees of communion, and God doesn’t force anyone to sit at the same table.

"Brothers and sisters we all want the best for this beautiful Church of England, yet we are going to have to settle for second best, knowing that, this side of heaven, the church will never be perfect, but one day, one day we will sit at the table in heaven."

He added: "We’ve not yet worked out all the detail of what that will mean in terms of vocations, training, licensing, finance and all the many other practicalities of ministry – but we will return to Synod in February next year with those details.

"So nothing changes this autumn the earliest any of this starts is next February."