Thinking Anglicans

London church service makes news

Updated Saturday evening

The Episcopal Café reports on a Same sex wedding held in London church.

The complete order of service is available as a PDF file from there.

Update
From tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports:

Male priests marry in Anglican church’s first gay ‘wedding’
First gay ‘wedding’: Only the bride was missing
First gay ‘wedding’: All eyes on Archbishop of Canterbury

Some quotes from the Telegraph:

The Most Rev Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, said that the ceremony was “blasphemous.” He called on Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take decisive action if the Anglican Church were not to “disintegrate”. Archbishop 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.”

The Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester – a powerful conservative figure – said that the service represented a wedding “in all but name”. He said: “Strictly speaking 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.”

The bishop said that it was up to the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, to act, adding that it would become a high-profile test case of Church authority.

“Can we stand for the clear teaching of the Church of England or are we powerless in the face of these actions, which I regret enormously have taken place,” he said.

From the Mail on Sunday by Jonathan Petre:

Row as rector holds Britain’s first gay ‘wedding’ in an Anglican church and another copy with a slightly different headline here.

Some quotes from the Mail:

Tory MP Sir Patrick Cormack, a prominent Anglican, said: ‘This is extraordinary. I am surprised the rector of such an important church should act in apparent defiance of his bishop.’

Alison Ruoff, a member of the Church of England’s General Synod, said: ‘It is incredibly sad that people are prepared to sin against God and the Church.’

… Mr Dudley said he was unrepentant. He said he had written to Bishop Chartres 18 months ago for guidance on blessings for same-sex couples in civil partnerships, but was told the Church’s House of Bishops had not approved them.

‘Bishop Chartres asked me not to offer them and I do not offer them,’ he said.

‘But if close friends ask me to bless them, I do not say no.

‘It would be an act of hypocrisy to do anything else.

I was ordained alongside gay candidates of the priesthood and many of my clergy friends are gay, though I am not.’

He said he regarded the service as a blessing rather than a marriage and added that he was not worried about discipline because he had acted with integrity.

A Church spokesman said: ‘The Church of England is absolutely firm on the point that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

‘The Church has no liturgy for blessing same-sex unions.’

Agence France-Presse reports that:

A Church of England spokesman told AFP they had “no reason” to believe that the ceremony did not take place but added: “What we seem to have here is a fairly serious breach of the rules by an individual or groups of individuals.”

… The Church of England spokesman said he hoped the news would not affect relations between member churches, stressing: “The Church of England has not changed its rules (on the subject) at any stage.”

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, in whose diocese the ceremony took place, was unavailable for comment, his spokesman told AFP.

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L Roberts
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L Roberts

Congratulations !

May the happy couple know health and happiness.

This is all that matters and my comments below are largely irrelevant, from the viewpoint of those in love, in their unique moments of joy –as a new chapter opens.

I always wanted a ‘BCP’ wedding
with the hymn ‘O Perfect Love’ (when I sang at the weddings of others as a choir boy in our village church.

(It is good to see the C of E following the lead of free churches.

The parish website looks interesting too.)

JCF
Guest
JCF

If the people (let the Holy Spirit) lead, the leaders will follow.

Long life, happiness, and continued fruitful ministries to the happy couple. Mazel Tov! 😀

MRG
Guest
MRG

And St Bart’s is such a lovely church, too – one of my absolute favourites. It would be such a shame if ++Cantuar has to kick them out of the Communion! Who do you suppose was presiding? They appear to have kept their name off the service sheet, whoever they are.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Simon (I suspect) knows only too well that the Sunday Mail and Telegraph are probably running this on their front page tomorrow!

I have been to dozens of similar services over the last 30 years – I guess it had to be a bad news day.

deaconmark
Guest
deaconmark

Perhaps we will need to send in a flying Bishop from the Episcopal Church to provide emergency pastoral oversight for the newly married couple? I’m thinking a woman bishop would be best. I’m joking, of course, but perhaps this will help end the hypocracy that the C of E is becoming in the name of unity.

Pluralist
Guest

A happy life together to the couple involved. I’m interested in liturgies like these, so made a copy of the essential part:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/06/symbolism-of-rings-and-hands.html

I think, in the end, it is better to write something new, even if the language is a little ancient for effect, but even though the work was largely done for the priest, the slight changes made are rather clever and effective.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

It is worth pointing out that all the great advancements in church history have come from individuals acting in opposition to authority. I would almost say it starts with Jesus himself, healing on the Sabbath, and proceeds through Luther, the first US women ordained before Gen Con permitted it, and now, to this.

John Henry
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John Henry

Didn’t the Blessing take place on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is May 31 (according to the printed service booklet)? Why the breaking news a fortnight later?

Martin Reynolds is spot on when he surmises that “it must have been a bad news day.”

robroy
Guest
robroy

These people don’t give a d@mn if the church explodes or implodes. Really quite reprehensible. The homosexual agenda trumps the gospel.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

May they have a long and loving relationship. May they be role models of affection and respect to their friends, family and associates. May the bible sustain and give them guidance as they go through both the good and the bad times, and may they genuinely love each other for better or for worse. May their relationship be mutual where both sides needs are acknowledged and respected so that it is not one getting the “for worse” whilst the other basks in the “for best”. That is something that we all need to learn. Just because Jesus was annointed Lord… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

It will be very interesting to study the comments and reaction of the Bishop of London. He likes to run with the hare and the hounds. His attitude seems to be, as long as you don’t publicly acknowledge homosexuality, he will turn a blind eye. Apparently that is the exact same attitude of the TALIBAN to homosexuality.

The Church of England bishops realise that if they start to expell such clergy, it will jeopardise their whole privileged status with the State.

Is any one taking bets as to whether Mr Dudley will be deprived?

Neil
Guest
Neil

It was a very grand occasion with an orchestral Mozart Mass and great ceremony and I thought very brave on the part of the clergy concerned whom I admired. However, it was clearly also an act without official sanction and appeared deliberately to take on as much Prayer Book marriage wording as possible – all of which I thought was odd. Even though it was a courageous act of rebellion it was not done amidst the glare of publicity – and despite perhaps over 300 guests attending (many senior clergy as well) the fact that the story has emerged so… Read more »

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

Perhaps it’s worth pointing out the following comment from the Telegraph: ” 19. Posted by The Revd Dr Martin Dudley on June 15, 2008 08:54 AM As the Rector of St Bartholomew the Great, who officiated at this service, I would like to add a little clarity to the story. First, it was not a wedding or a marriage but the blessing of a civil partnership. Mr Wynne-Jones was well aware of this from his conversation with me today. If others construe it as a wedding, than they do so deliberately in order to ferment division. Second, it was not… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Thanks Kieran for that. I will add it to the later article above.

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

I find it interesting that it’s apparently so shocking that two clergy – people whom one presumes live deeply with the liturgy – should use a form of blessing based on the BCP. If the Church won’t sanction a form of blessing, then this is what will continue to happen. I wish them all happiness, and gee do I envy their style having a not-quite nuptial High Mass. I’d kill to meet breeders with a similar dash of elan. The African Contingent should know by now that Rowan Williams can do very little to control events like this. They would… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“…the appropriateness of the Church having a form for blessing just about anything…”

I’m reminded of the line from the opening number (“Tradition”) in Fiddler on the Roof:

“Rabbi, is there a proper blessing for the Czar?”

“A blessing for the Czar, of course–(chanting) May God bless and keep the Czar…far away from us!”

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

In his Commentary piece Jonathan Wynne-Jones opens: “The Church of England’s first homosexual wedding could not have come at a worse time for the Archbishop of Canterbury…” Now, is this a deliberate and wicked lie or just a piece of totally acceptable journalese, where truth is completely unimportant if it makes a good story? There is nothing of the “first” about this – I have been to many such services over the last 30 years and even had the privilege of asking the blessing myself – I have been to several where one was a priest and just one where… Read more »

bls
Guest

God bless them in their life together.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

Well, I hope this brings the day nearer when we will see similar rituals in the Roman Catholic Church.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

There’s so much shock-horror and righteous indignation surrounding this whole thing that I believe it behoves us to stand back and look at the rules, such as they are, how they can be held to have been broken, and what sanctions, if any, there are. First, people need to stop blaming the poor Archbishop. It’s nothing to do with him, and it is outwith his jurisdiction. He comes into play only at a very late stage of the clergy discipline procedure, if at all. Second, though the Bishops’ ruling on the blessing of civil unions is that they “should not”… Read more »

Peter O
Guest

Martin Reynolds is incorrect. The service was very clearly a wedding as I demonstrate by examining the text of the liturgy here and the theology of the liturgy in these two posts:

http://www.peter-ould.net/2008/06/15/gay-wedding/
http://www.peter-ould.net/2008/06/15/gay-wedding-the-theology/

Etheldreda
Guest
Etheldreda

This was a deliberately provocative act. Clearly the press has been informed and the officiant and others have delighted in speaking to them.

It was clearly deliberately done a few weeks before the Lambeth Conference.

It is sad to treat Archbishop Rowan so shamefully.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“The African Contingent should know by now that Rowan Williams can do very little to control events like this.”

Come now, kieran, you know better than this.

Those who would like to “control” (i.e., terminate—with extreme prejudice!) liturgies like these, are no more limited to an “African Contingent”, than are those who would like to *celebrate* such liturgies limited to white northerners.

The Problem is unbiblical, anti-gay *bigotry* wherever it is to be found: neither the problem, nor the solutions, come from a single continent.

Long life and abundant blessings to my hero, +Desmond Tutu! 🙂

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

‘The service was very clearly a wedding as I demonstrate by examining the text of the liturgy here and the theology of the liturgy in these two posts:

http://www.peter-ould.net/2008/06/15/gay-wedding/
http://www.peter-ould.net/2008/06/15/gay-wedding-the-theology/

Posted by: Peter O on Sunday, 15 June 2008 at 7:40pm BST ‘

How lovely that Peter O recognises that is is a wedding and therefore a marriage.

Joy to them and all lovers of all times and places !

Good old God !

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Well, I see. Thank you Peter.

I am afraid you will have to allow me to continue to demur.

Though I have to say that in the case of our carefully named
Solemnisation of our Civil Partnership
The children who came all called it a marriage and were firmly of the view that it was a Wedding. Theologically I think that marginally more convincing of it actually being a marriage than your argument.

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

JCF – point taken. That said, there are a lot of *Africans* in TEC these days, are there not?

Bob In PA
Guest
Bob In PA

I always thought a wedding simply is a contract between two people and recognized by the state.

If this is the case than allowing some to be able to make this contract while other’s can’t seems to affair/bias IMHO.

Whatever happened, it wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. Either the church welcome the their gay clergy or boot them all out. My guess is they’re in a pickle.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The homosexual agenda trumps the gospel.” robroy, I’m as put off by this as you are, and if, as has been noted elsewhere, the people involved are at all surprised by the reaction, they have apparently been on another planet for the past five years, but come on, “the homosexual agenda trumps the Gospel”? Would you care to point out exactly what in this “trumps the Gospel”? For the love of God, the barbarians are NOT at the gate, and no-one is building altars to the Emperor on which you must burn a pinch of incense or be tortured in… Read more »

bls
Guest

What’s really interesting to me is that the priests involved are asked and expected to use the marriage rite whenever a couple marries in the church – but God forbid they use the words, or anything like them, for their own partnership. THAT is beyond the pale. Anglican hysteria over this has become so very tiresome at this point. It’s really amazing to me that personal loathing of homosexuality so blinds people to actual love between actual people of the sort that Christ actually taught – but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. The Church hasn’t really been in the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

C0nsidering the comments of the Bishop of Winchester on this issue; why is he so adamant that Gays should have no place in the Church? One wonders whether he will be at the upcoming GAFCON debacle as part of the Global South contingent, thus aligning himself with the Archbishops of Uganda, Nigeria, Southern Cone and Sydney. Will he absent himself from Lambeth, perhaps, in common with those who, like the Bishop of Rochester, seem more at home with GAFCON than the loyal Bishops of the Anglican Communion who still reckon the Archbishop of Canterbury to be their Primus Inter Pares?… Read more »