Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

England – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on July 20, 2010

Grange-over-Sands vicar gives his support to same sex couples

From Westmorland Gazette, 15.7.10

A GRANGE-over-Sands vicar has announced he will welcome same sex couples into his church and support their relationships.

Speaking to a 60-strong congregation on Sunday, the Rev Nick Ash, of St Paul’s Parish Church, said after much consideration he would give his backing to long-term same sex relationships.

His announcement comes as the General Synod – the national assembly of the Church of England – meets this week in York to discuss civil partnerships and the removal of legislation which currently bars women from becoming bishops.

“What I am trying to do is bring out the debate into the open,” said Mr Ash. “I would want to affirm all loving relationships that had the potential of being life-long “ I thought it would be helpful if the congregation realised I have come to this conclusion after a lot of thinking about it. Same sex couples should be welcomed into the church.

“I’m not asking other people to think about it in this way and I would want to be accommodating to those who have different views.”

The 50-year-old vicar, who came to the church from Portsmouth Diocese seven months ago, said he had received a lot of positive comments from his congregation after the sermon.

He said: “There are issues within the church, one is female bishops and the other that is taxing us is relationships of all kinds.

“We need to be sensitive to those who hold the opposite views to ourselves and that is the view that I hold.”

Churchwarden Mick Hill, said: “I think it was a rather unusual topic for a sermon but rather topical. It wasn’t dwelled on when we all had coffee after the service.”

The Archdeacon of West Cumberland Richard Pratt said: “Within the church there is a variety of views about issues round human sexuality.

“Common to all in the church would be that at an individual level all people are welcome in our churches, and love and stability is valued.

“The bishops of the Church of England have articulated a policy which holds us together in unity: put simply, the Church’s view is that sexual relationships belong only and exclusively within marriage.

“All clergy are expected to abide by this.”


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