Updated again 11 pm Sunday
BBC Anger at Anglican gay ‘wedding’ and a full report on the radio programme Sunday. Interviewees include Martin Dudley, Colin Slee, and David Banting. Permanent URL now available: go here. (12.5 minutes)
Associated Press Anglican Church: Gay ‘wedding’ broke rules
Press Association Gay ‘marriage’ for Anglican priests
Reverend Martin Dudley, who led the ceremony, said he disagrees with the official guidance.
He added: “I was asked by a friend and colleague to bless their civil partnership. I said ‘of course I will’.
“Peter is a dear friend and I have gay friends and one respects them for who they are. It seemed perfectly reasonable.
“I certainly didn’t do it to defy my bishop or to make a statement, I did it as a matter of pastoral care for someone for whom I have a very high regard.”
Mr Dudley said the traditional marriage liturgy was significantly altered for the occasion, which he described as ‘glorious’.
There were around 300 guests, including a number of clergy and Cowell’s mother who read the lesson.
Dudley added: “I know about the bishops guidelines and I disagree with them. It just seems to me to be utter hypocrisy to deny the fact that there are significant numbers of gay men and women within the church and significant numbers of gay clergy.
“It seems to me that Jesus would have been sitting in the congregation.”
He said differing opinions in the church are fine as long as people disagree “in love and understanding”.
“You can’t allow the cultural and theological prejudices of the Bishop of Uganda for example, to govern how we are going to go forward in a very diverse community where the law and society accepts homosexual relationships in civil partnerships.”
From the comments on the Telegraph site:
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 and was intended to be a provocative act. It was not undertaken in defiance of the Bishop of London and there was no plea from him that I should not officiate at the service.
Third, we should remember that this service celebrated the love that the two persons involved have for each other. I officiated at it because Fr Peter Cowell has been my friend and colleague for many years. 300 people joined in the service; nearly 200 received communion, and there were dozens of other clergy present. It was not a rally or a demonstration. If other people want to turn into a loveless battlefield for the future of the Church of England, then it is they who will carry responsibility for the consequences.
Fulcrum reports a communication from Lloyd Ashton, Media Officer to the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia which reads:
…News reports in the United Kingdom have described a London Anglican church blessing for two male Anglican clergy, one of whom is a New Zealander.
The New Zealand priest involved has felt it appropriate to lay down his clergy license, in the light of Anglican Communion processes and discussions in the area of same gender Blessings and ordination.
Both the bishops to whom the priests were licensed, one in New Zealand and the other in the United Kingdom, were not aware of the ceremony.
The Bishop of Waikato and the Waikato priest concerned have released this joint statement. They will make no further comment on this matter.
The Associated Press reports that:
London’s bishop said Sunday he would order an investigation into whether two gay priests exchanged rings and vows in a church ceremony, violating Anglican guidelines.
The priests walked down the aisle in a May 31 service at one of London’s oldest churches marked by a fanfare of trumpets and capped by a shower of confetti, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph reported.
The bishop, the Right Rev. Richard Chartres, said such services are not authorized in the Church of England. He said he would ask the archdeacon of London to investigate.
And also that:
Church of England spokesman Lou Henderson said the archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Communion’s spiritual leader, was unlikely to make any public comment about the controversy.
Channel 4 News had a report this evening, which you can watch by going here.
From New Zealand, the local angle in Anglicans incensed by gay ‘wedding’:
… The fallout for Dr Lord, who was ordained at Waikato Cathedral Church of St Peter in December last year, had been swift. In a joint statement with the Bishop of Waikato yesterday, he said he “felt it appropriate to lay down his clergy licence”. This means he is unable to work as an Anglican priest…
There are further stories on the newspaper websites:
The Times Anglican church in meltdown over gays and women
Daily Mail Rector faces the sack after holding Britain’s first gay ‘wedding’ in an Anglican church
Telegraph Controversial vicar investigated after Anglican church’s first gay ‘wedding’