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Sunday, 15 June 2008

One wedding and a fundamentalist or two

This one's already begun to get them going. The UK's Sunday Telegraph tells us of a service, complete with exchange of vows, held at St Bartholomew the Great Church in London – one of England's oldest churches and one that featured in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral – and it's really got the traditionalists into a hissy fit of fury and righteous rage.

But this one was held to join together in holy matrimony two blokes: the Rev. Peter Cowell, who is a cleric at one of the Queen's churches, and the Rev. Dr David Lord, who had already registered a civil partnership before the ceremony.

It's nothing new, of course. Well, blessings, at least, over gay priests have been said for as long as there have been gay priests, which is as long as there have been priests. But this one was a rather elaborate affair, using the traditional wording of the marriage service.

Their service was conducted by the Rev. Martin Dudley, the parish rector, who opened the proceedings with, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join these men in a holy covenant of love and fidelity. Such a covenant shows us the mystery of the union between God and God's people and between Christ and the Church."

In the vows, Cowell and Lord pledged to "hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part".

One of the frothing reactions has come from Uganda. Henry Orombi, the archbishop there, said that the ceremony was "blasphemous." He called on Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take decisive action to stop the Anglican Church from disintegrating. Orombi added, "What really shocks me is that this is happening in the Church of England that first brought the Gospel to us. The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out. Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching."

And over here the conservative Rt Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester said that the service represented a wedding "in all but name". "Strictly speaking," he said, "it is not a marriage, but the language is clearly modelled on the marriage service and the occasion is modelled on the marriage service. This clearly flouts Church guidelines and will exacerbate divisions within the Anglican Communion."

Only if you and your bigoted kind let it, mate.

1 comment:

George Broadhead said...

If it hastens the C of E's split and thus the erosion of its authority and political power, this should be welcomed.