The Church of England will test-run stand-alone services for blessing same-sex couples after its ruling body, the General Synod, voted to move ahead with implementing special prayers of thanks and dedication for gay couples. The vote to go ahead with the pilot program followed hours of emotionally charged debate about the church’s pastoral responsibilities toward LGBTQ+ people. The synod’s vote on November 15 follows the House of Bishops’ agreement last month to commend “Prayers of Love and Faith,” for use in existing church services. The bishops also approved the prayers as the basis for stand-alone services. Two days of debate began with synod members — bishops, clergy, and lay representatives — considering a motion put forward by the bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Sarah Mullally, the third most senior bishop in the Church of England, in which she highlighted the uncertainty and tensions in the church over the issue especially over the content of prayers for same-sex blessings. Thirteen amendments were offered to her motion, from those who wanted to recognize further the distress the issue had caused gay people to those who wanted to abandon the work on same-sex blessings altogether. On November 15, the synod voted to accept an amendment from Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, to test stand-alone services. The Croft amendment passed the House of Laity by just one vote.