England – the gay issue
Posted by Fr Mark on August 19, 2009
Vicar’s gay ‘marriage’ to have church blessing
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
An openly homosexual vicar is to have his gay “marriage” blessed at a church service at which the former Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev David Jenkins, will preach.
The ceremony is expected to be the first of a number of such events that clearly flout official guidelines issued by the House of Bishops in July when clergy were told that they should not conduct formal blessings of civil partnerships to avoid equating them with marriage.
But many clergy are planning to defy the bishops by hosting thanksgiving services. The prospect is causing mounting alarm among the bishops and it was discussed at a private meeting on Wednesday chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
The bishops fear that widespread indiscipline could undermine their authority and heighten tensions in the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Church.
The Rev Christopher Wardale, the vicar of Holy Trinity, Darlington, and Malcolm Macourt, a retired academic, will sign civil partnership papers before the blessing at St Thomas the Martyr church, Newcastle, on Dec 21.