The Church of England’s governing body is rethinking a report which supports traditional teaching on same-sex marriage.

The report, written by Church of England Bishops, called for a “culture of welcome and support” for gay couples. However, it did not change the teaching that marriage is a life-long commitment between a man and a woman.

The report needed the approval of all 3 houses; bishops, clergy and laity. The clergy narrowly voted against the report, which has taken three years for Bishops to prepare.

A poll in 2016 found that nearly half of Church of England’s members support same-sex marriage. Andrew Williams is the vicar at St Francis church in Tottenham, the first Church of England parish to open in 40 years. He describes himself as socially and theologically liberal, and is a strong supporter of same sex marriage. According to Mr Williams, the recent report exposes a deep fracture between a conservative governing body and more liberal members of the Church’s clergy and congregation: “There is a unity question. If the Archbishop of Canterbury were to say tomorrow that we’re going to allow anybody to be married in our church, there would be a schism.”

A poll conducted in 2016 found that just 37 per cent of Church of England members oppose same-sex marriage. The Bishop of Willesden has apologised to those who were offended by the report, which will have to be reconsidered before being presented to the Synod again.