Thinking Anglicans

London clergy challenge Civil Partnership ban

Updated again Friday morning

A group of clergy in the Diocese of London have signed a letter calling for the Church of England to reverse its ban on civil partnership ceremonies being held in churches.

This is reported fully today in The Times but that material is all behind a paywall. Here are some other reports:

BBC Church of England clergy challenge civil partnership stance

AFP Church of England clergy rebel on gay ceremonies

Mail Online Nearly 100 clergy revolt over Church ban on ‘gay weddings’

Text of letter to The Times:

We, the undersigned, believe that on the issue of holding civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England churches incumbents / priests in charge should be accorded the same rights as they enjoy at present in the matter of officiating at the marriage of divorced couples in church. Namely, that this should be a matter for the individual conscience of the incumbent / priest in charge.

We would respectfully request that our views in this regard are fully represented in Synod.

Updates

Changing Attitude has now published the full list of signatures to the letter, along with a covering letter sent to the clergy members of General Synod from the London diocese. See Signatories on the letter to The Times and clergy proctors of London Diocese.

The Bishop of London has issued this: Clergy letter about civil partnerships in our churches

I am of course aware of the letter that a number of clergy in this Diocese has signed regarding civil partnerships in our churches. Their request to General Synod is based on very proper pastoral concern and it is right that this matter continues to be discussed openly…

The Church Times has a report: London clergy seek right to choose together with the full list of signatories.

…The letter challenging this ban originated at St Luke’s, Chelsea, where the Rector is Prebendary Brian Leathard. On Wednesday, he said that his motivation had been pastoral: “More and more people are coming to us, and feel that we are turning them away without being able to hear their story. They have a genuine desire for the Church’s fullest ministry, for us to bless their loving relationships.”

His request is for “something akin to the remarriage of divorcees when, under guidelines and in consultation with the bishop, priests act in accordance with their con­sciences”. The letter asks for permis­sive legislation: “There will be priests who do not want to do this, and I would respect their desire not to.”

He disagreed with the view that the present system spared the clergy from the responsibility of rejecting individual couples. “For those of us at the front line, there is no sense of hiding behind a blanket ban: we are still turning people away.”

St Luke’s has not approached all the London clergy; none the less, Prebendary Leathard said: “This is a substantial proportion. We should like our General Synod represent­atives to hear this groundswell, and represent those views in the Synod.”

Guardian Riazat Butt Bishop of London dismisses calls for civil partnerships in churches

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JeremyP
JeremyP
8 years ago

I would think this puts a fair bit of pressure on Fittall and the automotic naysayers who think they can gazump any debate or discussion.

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
8 years ago

This is a fantastic move by those clergy in London…if only we could get the statement to go national in all the dioceses it would test the temperature in the Church of England. This could then encourage General Synod members to move the thing forward. Could someone start a national petition that retired clergy like myself could sign up to. Despite all the signs to the contrary we are getting there but thank you to the State and not the Church!

Fr John
Fr John
8 years ago

Robert,
I agree with you, I would be more than happy to sign such a letter. I am retired, in a God given civil partnership in Scotland.

Nat
Nat
8 years ago

Bravo! Uplifting and encouraging news!

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
8 years ago

The Incumbents of some significant London churches have signed this…is the list still open I wonder. I’m suprised no-one thought of co-ordinating with those in the dioceses of Southwark and elsewhere.I will be interested to see how the remarks by the Bishop of London in the concluding part of his statement are received.

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
8 years ago

Robert and John , great idea ! I too should like to sign.

Most encouraging.

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
8 years ago

Just a thought: could we add our signature ‘virtually’ so to speak. I’ll sign immediately.

john
john
8 years ago

Difficult not to cheer. Chartres’ response is mendacious (perhaps necessarily so, let us be charitable): the letter is not concerned with ‘pastoral concern’ but with ‘rights’.

karen macqueen+_
8 years ago

A fine beginning to the task of openly challenging the current position of the CofE. I join with others in hoping that priests, and lay members as well, take up this challenge to the position of General Synod. This is how change will happen: by an open, transparent dialogue within the Church. Eventually, a majority of clergy and baptized members will support change, and it will become inevitable. I am not so critical as some about the letter of the Bishop of London. Clearly, he is anxious to avoid individual priests acting on their consciences and presenting him with parish… Read more »

Nat
Nat
8 years ago

Bishop Chartres may put “unity” in front of justice; others, such as the Bishop of Willesden fall back on “not enough discussion”. But unity cannot rightly be had at the price of neglecting the outcast, and for heaven’s sake – isn’t twenty years enough time for “discussion”? One is tempted to say something about how long certain bishops have sat there for all the good they have done – especially now that the tide has turned, and so many are now turned away from the church by its endless procrastination, protection of privilege and general exclusion of the gay people… Read more »

David Shepherd
8 years ago

I’m loving the ebullient ‘Hey, let’s put on a show!’ optimism here. So what’s next?

Let’s bypass the whole flawed preferment process. With a bit of derring-do, maybe a Crown Nominations Commission member could be persuaded to leak the whereabouts of their next meeting. My uncle could build a hustings platform right outside for our protest to hear our favoured candidate…’

These political pressure tactics will hardly sway the current review process.

Robert ian Williams
Robert ian Williams
8 years ago

And this from a diocese which narowly failed to pass the Women Bishops motion!

I also note several women , tipped for higher things who have put their careers on the line.

Gerry Lynch
8 years ago

@David Shepherd – Jesus is coming back to start a review process?

Jay Vos
8 years ago

My reaction Butt’s report on Chartres’ reaction: Any excuse…. It’s all spin to delay, delay. And he should talk about challenging economic times after the botch up in the way he handled the Occupy encampment outside St Paul’s. Clearly, the bish doesn’t get it. It’s all about being pastoral, innit, Richard.

Glad to see (and not surprised at all) that the clergy of St James’s Piccadilly have signed the letter. That parish was very welcoming to me when I lived in London (and still is), with an active LBGT group.

Jean Mary Mayland
Jean Mary Mayland
8 years ago

Congratulations

Now please can we have a way of collecting signatures from clergy in all Dioceses , working and retired.

JCF
JCF
8 years ago

“Chartres says the age of austerity is a more pressing issue for clergy than registering churches for civil partnerships”

Because God only knows THAT’S an Either/Or choice!

{sarcasm/Off}

It seems to me Chartres is in his OWN “age of austerity” when it comes to loving God’s LGBT children (partnered) as Christ loves him. 🙁

David Shepherd
8 years ago

@Gerry Lynch:

Yes. All of the prophecies point to 14th November 2012.

Just remember: you heard it on TA first.

John Birch
John Birch
8 years ago

Interesting response from Pete Broadbent : Posted 03 February, 2012 12:42 Here’s part of my letter to Willesden clergy on the matter: A number of London clergy (including some of you) have signed a petition which is in the news today asking for the liberty for incumbents to decide whether or not to hold civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England churches as a matter for the individual conscience of the priest, analogous with the decision whether or not to remarry divorcees in church. It’s an important issue for us to face, but there is of course work in progress… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
8 years ago

Delayed “listening processes” can last only so long before they get overtaken by events.

The Philadelphia Eleven are one example of this.

Retired bishops of independent means have a limited tolerance for unprincipled authority.

Father Ron Smith
8 years ago

If only the Church had the foresight to see that committed, monogamous, Same-Sex Partnerships are as worthy of the Church’s Blessing as that of any other loving couple; there may not have been the same pressure by the general public to see Same-Sex Marriage as the only viable alternative.

Pre-emptive statements by the Church so often do have to be reneged upon. When will we learn?

Simon
Simon
8 years ago

Both John Sentamu and Peter Broadbent have defined civil partnerships as “friendships”. What planet are they living on. This, as Peter Tatchell said, demeans the nature of the relationship. They will do anything but admit the goodness of loving same sex relationships.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
8 years ago

Pete Broadbent says ‘…and the discussion will begin in the House of Bishops (which has had very little debate on these matters over the last ten years…’.

If this is so then the Bishops haven’t been doing their duty as pastors and leaders but have burried their heads and their mitres in the sand while the world has moved on. No wonder most of them look like rabbits caught in the headlights.

Gerry Lynch
8 years ago

@David Shepherd – raptureready.com has had the Rapture Index at or close to its all time high for almost a year now, so the signs are clearly all around us.

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