French Protestant Church adopts local option on gay blessings

The General Synod of the Eglise protestante unie de France has voted to permit its ministers to conduct same-sex weddings.

The General Synod of France’s largest Protestant church, the United Protestant Church of France (Eglise protestante unie de France) has voted to permit its ministers to conduct same-sex weddings. Following eighteen months of study on 17 May 2015 the national synod, meeting in Sète voted to permit gay blessings, but declined to mandate the practice.

In its four page decision, (printed below) the Synod stated that it sought to “allow same-sex couples to feel welcome as they are” but also to “respect the diverse views across the United Protestant Church. It opens the possibility for those who see it as a fair way to witness to the Gospel, by providing a liturgical blessing of married same-sex couples who want to place their covenant before God.”

In an explanatory note, the Synod said that “such a blessing is an open possibility. It is neither a right nor an obligation.”

The decision to conduct same-sex blessings was being devolved to the parish and its clergy, the note stated, adding the “debates concerning same-sex couples are often passionate and exclusive. Beyond the arguments exchanged, they also involve the stories, personal, intimate and family. The synod conducted its work with the priority concern of people and guided by the desire to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Founded in 2013 following the merger of the Reformed Church of France and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France, the EPUdF is the largest and most liberal of the French Protestant churches. The church numbers 500 clergy in 450 parishes serving some 400,000 members, of whom 110,000 are active churchgoers. The country’s smaller evangelical churches have largely opposed same-sex blessings.

Benir, Decision Du Synode National de l'EPUdF Le 17 Mai 2015

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