Church of England , Considering Gender-Neutral , Terms for God. NPR reports that the Church of England is weighing its options for how to refer to God without assigning a gender. According to the church's governing body, while it has been exploring the topic of adopting new language for year…
Single people should be honored as much as couples and families, the Church of England has said, pointing to Jesus' own single status.
A report published Wednesday focuses on families and relationships befitting a diverse society, with one of its key messages to "honour singleness and single person households."
The "Love Matters" report was conducted by the Archbishops' Commission on Families and Households, a group established in 2021 by the archbishops of Canterbury and York — Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell respectively — to recommend ways the church can work with families and households, while drawing on Christian tradition.
In a statement Wednesday, Welby said the report "encourages us to prioritise the hopes, needs and aspirations of families — in all their diversity."
"Love Matters" concludes a trilogy of reports, with the first looking at housing and the second at care and support.
The commission recognizes that an increasing number of people do not live in family or couple units, and that singleness can be a "deliberate choice."
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people living alone has increased by 8.3% over a decade to 2021. That year, the proportion of one-person households ranged from 25.8% in London to 36% in Scotland.
"Sometimes the right partner has not been found, and sometimes separation, divorce or death has resulted in the loss of a partner," the "Love Matters" report says, adding that it believes "single people must be valued at the heart of our society."
"Jesus' own singleness should ensure that the Church of England celebrates singleness and does not regard it as lesser than living in a couple relationship," the report adds.
The report's suggestion to "honour" singleness is another deviation from the church's traditional teachings of heterosexual marriage. While same-sex couples cannot be married by the church, a vote earlier this year favored blessing their marriage.
The commission highlighted that the church now has an opportunity to "reimagine" a society where all families and relationships are valued to promote a stability that enables everyone "to thrive in a variety of family constellations, including being single."
Paul Butler, bishop of Durham and co-chair of the commission, added in a statement that what constitutes as "family" differs across society.
"(The report reveals) that the shape of family changes through our lives," Butler said. "It further shows that there is no one best shape, except that loving long term relationships are absolutely key for us all to flourish."