Pilling Commission on human sexuality

30 October 2013

Statement from William Fittall, Secretary General of the General Synod and Archbishops’ Council, placing recent media and blog speculation in context:

“At last Friday’s Synod press conference a national journalist asked me to confirm the now widely held story that the Pilling Group on human sexuality had been scrapped. I said that, on the contrary, the Group was still meeting and was due to complete its report in time for the House of Bishops to consider it at its meeting in December.

“Then on Monday a clergyman posted a blog saying: “I have now confirmed from a number of sources what the Pilling Report is going to recommend. The final draft is ready and it will propose that the Church of England introduce some form of liturgy that will bless same-sex relationships. There is absolutely no doubt that this is what the outcome of the committee’s deliberations will be – This is not spin, it is not trying to influence the outcome, it is the real deal.” Our Communications Office responded to this by saying that, on the contrary, “the final draft of the Pilling report has not yet been completed or signed off.”

“In relation to these and any other claims it is important to be clear that the Pilling group cannot be expected to provide a running commentary on a report that it is still working on. In addition, the House of Bishops is in no position to say anything about a report that it has yet to receive, still less study. Since no one can know at this point what the report will eventually say, such claims are simply speculation.

“It is also important to recall that when the House of Bishops established the review in July 2011 it did so because it wished “…to offer proposals on how the continuing discussion within the Church of England about these matters might best be shaped in the light of the listening process. Our intention is to produce a further consultation document …” The Pilling report will be a report to the House of Bishops and it will then be for the House to decide, in the light of the report, what proposals and process of consultation it wishes to launch.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 at 12:47pm GMT


Despite a report from a certain English clergyman’s web-site recently, there has been no announcement made about any particular findings from the Pilling Commission. This sort of rumour cannot but bring further pressure on the Commission members to an early conclusion, leading to a decision by the Church to either (a) support the idea of Same-Sex Blessings in the Church of England, or (b) pronounce them ‘out of court’.

In the wake of the fizzer of a report from six individuals who were present at the GAFCON II meeting in Nairobi, to a small news contingent, claiming that the Anglican Communion was now in danger of a split by the GAFCON Churches on the issue of homosexuality; this false information, presuming there had been a recommendation to produce a form of Same-Sex Blessing for use in the Church of England by the Pilling Commission  on Human Sexuality,  only serves to stir up more public controversy about the issues involved.

However, this latest announcement by William Fittall, the Secretary-General of the Church of England General Synod and the Archbishop’s Council, has put the rumour to rest. There has been no determination on the part of the Commission to make any pronouncement on the matter of Same Sex Blessings – nor is there likely to be any announcement of any suggested treatment of such matters – until this happens in an official communique by the Church – on its adoption of ‘a further consultative document’ – to be further discussed.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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