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:
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.
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