Thinking Anglicans

CofE priest enters a same-sex marriage

Updated again Monday evening

There are numerous media reports today about this event.

Guardian Gay marriage first for chaplain in defiance of C of E

Sunday Telegraph Church of England faces ‘crisis’ as gay priest weds and also Gay Anglican priest marries his boyfriend. He’ll be the first of many

Mail on Sunday First gay clergyman to wed plunges Church into crisis: Archbishop under pressure to sack canon who flouted ban on same sex marriage

BBC Chaplain defies gay church wedding ban

Independent Gay priest defies Church of England ban on same-sex marriage as senior vicar warns of ‘crisis’ and
Gay marriage: Anglican critics say canon’s same-sex union ‘defies God’

Daily Mirror Gay priest first to break Church of England ban on same-sex marriages – to wed his partner

Savi Hensman has this analysis: Another crisis for Church of England, newspapers warn

Andrew Brown has this view: The gay Anglican wedding exposes a creaking compromise within the church

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Fr Paul
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Fr Paul

Heartfelt congratulations Jeremy and Laurence!

Dan BD
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Important detail that he’s a chaplain, since his employers are the NHS trust – surely for the Bishop to remove the Trust’s deputy head chaplain’s PTO would be catastrophic for relations?

WilliamK
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WilliamK

Congratulations to Canon Pemberton and Mr Cunnington! May this be but the first of many equal marriages (*) celebrated by Anglican couples in the birthplace of Anglicanism!

As Canon Pemberton faces possible “discipline” from the C of E Sanhedrin, I hope he will remember the words of St Peter: “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29).

(*) I wish the Guardian would stop using “gay marriage”! It’s just “marriage” … or, if one must, “equal marriage.”

John
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John

Jeremy,

Heartiest congrats.

Your friend,

John.

Revd Laurie Roberts
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Revd Laurie Roberts

Our congratulations too Jeremy and Laurence.

Wonderful.

robert ian Williams
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robert ian Williams

I remember Jeremy when he was a keen conservative evangelical curate. I was taken aback by the article and photograph.

Revd Laurie Roberts
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Revd Laurie Roberts

There is neither ‘crisis’ nor ‘defiance’.

Just adults going about grown-up things, like making one’s own decisions, and living out one’s life.

Many of us will be joining them, when we are ready. The bishops are a complete irrelevance after years of neglect and refusal to help lgbt.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Congrats!

Benedict
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Benedict

He has shown a blatant disregard for both church teaching and the authority of the Bishops. He is simply trying to make himself a martyr for the cause. The Church’s Disciplinary Measure will hopefully be enacted in this case.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

This may well be not a good test case for the Bishop of Lincoln to engage with. It is far from clear that the making of an equal marriage by a clergy person is “conduct unbecoming or inappropriate” under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. In addition, as has been noted, the clergyman (who I met at a dinner party with his then wife more years ago than I can remember – both most charming) is now in the employ of the NHS, although this may not be relevant for CDM purposes. The House of Bishops has got itself in a… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

Mazel Tov and TBTG! 😀

FD Blanchard
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FD Blanchard

alea jacta est

Congratulations to the happy couple!

“I was taken aback by the article and photograph.”
We are everywhere.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Wonderful news about these two. Love and congrats to you!

Can anyone tell me what Damian Thompson was doing at a party entirely populated by gay men? Let alone priests with their boyfriends and one bishop with his much younger Italian lover!
How come, I never got invited to such gatherings?!
And where do these Italian lads hang out ……?
Drat, is that one of the perks of episcopacy?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Benedict, you may wish to review the “Bridge-keeper” scene from Python’s “Holy Grail”.

Leonardo Ricardo
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FELICIDADES! LeonardoRIcardo/LeonardClarkBeardsley, Guatemala

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“He is simply trying to make himself a martyr for the cause. “

Sounds to me like he is trying to live his life. No one decides to get married in order to be a martyr. He and his partner want what everyone else wants.

Father David
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Father David

Now there’s a problem, if ever I saw one, for Bishop Edward King’s successor! I very much doubt if the Clergy Discipline Measure, now written more than a decade ago, foresaw having to cover or assist in making a decision about what took place at an undisclosed location on 12th April 2014 A. D. Thanks to Cameron’s Law things have moved on apace since 2003 A. D. What is Bishop Lowson to do? Remove Canon Pemberon’s PTO and thus make him a martyr for the cause or do nothing and make himself out to be a paper tiger? That’s what… Read more »

Turbulent Priest
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Turbulent Priest

Removing his licence or PTO by whatever process will create huge problems in relations between the Church of England and the NHS.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“He is simply trying to make himself a martyr for the cause. “ As for Benedict’s extremely unkind remarks I would just like to point out that you cannot organise a formal wedding in April in under 8 weeks. Venues get booked up months in advance. So rather than this wedding plunging the church into crisis this was a case of the church plunging wedding plans into crisis. No-one could have imagined that the bishops would be so unbelievably stupid as to issue this “Pastoral” Statement. What is a couple to do – cancel their plans, tell people to bin… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“The Church’s Disciplinary Measure will hopefully be enacted in this case.” One of the more boring grammatical pieces of pedantry, that these days seems to have died down, was the insistence that “hopefully” is only an adverb and never a sentence adverb. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/hopefully Never has that trivial dispute been more significant than in the quoted sentence. The writer presumably means he hopes that the CDM will be enacted. An older reader might take him to mean that it will be enacted, but with hope in the hearts of the people doing so. Indeed, perhaps more hope than expectation. They would… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

I suspect many in the Church will have mixed feelings about this, as I do. In principle I fear such actions are premature and are probably ill-advised at the present time. I’m also wary about acts that might be seen as intended to provoke a reaction from traditionalists. I await the outcome of this drama without much anticipation and without enthusiasm.

On a personal level, however, I find it difficult to offer anything except my sincerest congratulations to Jeremy and Laurence. I wish them every happiness.

Neil
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Neil

I cannot see what rationale would be used to discipline this priest. Christian Marriage at present is understood as it has been in the past, and there is agreement across the main denominations. Civil Marriage is now clearly a different thing, and it is this that will undermine (possibly) the traditional teaching. These two priests are not responsible for the new legislation and are simply exercising their civil rights. They may or may not wish for Christian Marriage to be open to same sex couples, but surely nobody would claim what they have done so far is Christian Marriage?

paul richardson
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paul richardson

My hearty congratulations to Jeremy and Laurence. Is there to be (or has there already been) a pastoral conversation and the offering of prayers? Of course we can not call it a Blessing!

Robert Ellis
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Robert Ellis

Congratulations to you both. I hope you are not having too tough a time with the bishops and the press…..”in all things lawful and honest”

Father David
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Father David

Once again the diocese of Lincoln hits the headlines. I am thinking that it is not so very long ago since the relationship between Dean Brandon Jackson and Sub Dean Rex Davis was in the news and that definitely wasn’t a match made in heaven.

John
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John

One response to a bad law – not the only response but a perfectly honourable one – is to break it. We shall see what we shall see, but I don’t believe there will be any disciplinary consequences here, the bad law will be weakened, and others will be still more encouraged to break it.

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Fr David – ‘not so very long ago’ – er that’s the story that began in 1989? Your point is?

american piskie
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american piskie

” surely nobody would claim what they have done so far is Christian Marriage?”

I would.

I’ve never thought of my own marriage of 40+ years, contracted in Hampstead Town Hall, as being other than a christian marriage.

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

I have read Dryden — “ere one to one was cursedly confined” and Shelley — “With one chained friend –perhaps a jealous foe, The dreariest and the longest journey go”, but I have never heard of someone marrying in order to be a martyr! As to Damian, Martin, in distant Tokyo I seem to be more abreast of things; it is sweet so see him being so frank.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

Neil makes an excellent point. Scenario 1: the traditionalists claim that same-sex marriages are invalid and meaningless. In which case, the defence would be “we are not married in your eyes, so you cannot discipline us for marrying, as we didn’t.” Scenario 2: the traditionalists claim that same-sex marriages are valid and meaningful (which would itself be quite the admission), but are denied to priests in the CofE. In which case, the defence would be “Article 32, now let’s go to the pub”. Constructing an argument by which same-sex marriage is valid enough to constitute an offence (it’s very, very… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

I am not entering into this discussion but would like to list the following facts: 1. The wedding was booked with the Registration Service (on a conditional basis, as the law had not come into effect) some months prior to the issue of the Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance 2. The wedding took place in a Register Office and not an hotel 3. The wedding took place in Nottinghamshhire and not Lincolnshire 4. A very brief interview and one photograph were given to a Mail on Sunday reporter the day before the wedding. We had not wanted any publicity but, given that… Read more »

john not mccain
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john not mccain

The only people these two are in “defiance” of are the anti-Christian goons who can no longer keep them from getting married. Congratulations!

Jeremy
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Jeremy

As I have written before, there is power in the CofE to bring this issue to the right conclusion. Thank God that brave people are beginning to use that power.

To Jeremy P and Laurence: Heartiest congratulations!

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

It is amazing that Rod Thomas can, with no apparent sense of irony, call for stricter discipline. Jeremy Pemberton has, on one matter of deep personal significance, gone against the bishops’ advice. Rod Thomas has been closely involved with the Anglican Mission in England, which flouts the authority of Church of England bishops completely, indeed encourages priests to ‘excommunicate’ their bishop if he does not conform to their expectations! It is like someone driving in the wrong direction up a motorway calling for heavy penalties for another driver who has, in what he regards as exceptional circumstances, parked on a… Read more »

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

“He has shown a blatant disregard for both church teaching and the authority of the Bishops. He is simply trying to make himself a martyr for the cause. The Church’s Disciplinary Measure will hopefully be enacted in this case.” Oh dear, Benedict: this is hardly “blatant disregard for church teaching,” when half the body of the church and most of the public no loner believe those teachings – and when bishops are wrong, surely it is the duty of Christians to disregard them? The bishops, after all, are the servants of all – or ought to be. Your second sentence… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Excellent point, Savi. Evangelicals in the church benefit no end from lax discipline: all those services conducted sans robes and liturgy, all those “statements of belief” used as a precondition for “membership.”

If there’s to be “discipline,” will those happy-clappy “pastors” please step forward to don cassock, surplice and tippet? Sauce for the goose …

robert ian Williams
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robert ian Williams

A Reform which is planting Churches in dioceses without the permission of the bishop, and also ordaining without local approval. Jesmond Parish Church has a plant in the diocese of Durham and has clergy serving not licensed to the Bishop of Newcastle.

Now there’s disobedience.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Andrew Brown’s article is risible–it detects a “delicate, creaking compromise” where no such thing exists.

Rather, we are at a tipping point. The momentum for equal marriage, even for CofE clergy, is unstoppable.

Brown is correct, however, when he writes that “Open change will be immensely difficult to get through the synod.”

This only highlights how unrepresentative Synod is, and how it has been captured by the conservatives.

Liberals need to be much more energetic and strategic around the next Synod elections. At the very least, all Synod members who vote against the WO measure should be vigorously opposed.

Chris H.
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Chris H.

@Turbulent priest and Interested Observer, Why wouldn’t they be able to remove him from NHS? In the States many/most prisons and hospitals require chaplains to be in good standing with their denominations. If the priest is censured for some reason they can be fired. That’s one of the reasons why priests/pastors who are actually atheists continue the charade; they don’t want to lose their jobs even at secular locations. Others with training in psychology or social work become counselors/therapists if their ties to the church are broken. What makes this different from the local hospital firing the (straight) Catholic priest… Read more »

Olivia
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Olivia

Chris: I think it’s because the NHS is a public sector organisation in the UK and has well-developed equality policies. As a public body it’s also under a legal duty to promote equality. Sacking someone for entering an entirely legal marriage would seem to contravene both this legal duty and the equality culture which the organisation as a whole promotes. I can’t imagine that senior management at the NHS Trusts involved would countenance such a sacking, no matter what the church said, though I’m not a lawyer. It could precipitate a horrible stand-off between the NHS as a Government organisation… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Nathaniel – yes civil marriage can be a Christian marriage and personally I agree that same sex marriages can equally be a Christian marriage. However, remove the indefinite article, and Christian marriage at the moment remains as it has been traditionally understood across the vast majority of denominations.
In the particular case of this priest and his husband it looks as if Laurence Cunnington would not wish his marriage to be understood as a Christian one, and I doubt Fr Jeremy Pemberton would regard what has taken place as ‘Christian marriage’.

Robert Ian williams
Guest
Robert Ian williams

An interesting point by Chris H. As a catholic in hospital, I would not accepot the ministratiions of a Catholic priest ( except in a matter of life and death) who was not so authorised by the local bishop.Such a person would not be a catholic priest but an ex Catholic priest of a denomination of his own making.

Philip
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Philip

“Liberals need to be much more energetic and strategic around the next Synod elections. At the very least, all Synod members who vote against the WO measure should be vigorously opposed”.

Not all opponents of WO are against equal marriage; and some supporters of WO are opposed to equal marriage and enthusiastic about clergy discipline!

Turbulent Priest
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Turbulent Priest

Chris: I don’t know the details of any individual contract, but if the NHS cooperates with the C of E in any appointment, and if it expects Anglican chaplains to be in good standing with the C of E, then a likely consequence of church discipline against Jeremy is that no NHS trust in the land will continue the arrangement for a future appointment. This is not because of narrow equalities legislation but because the NHS actually takes its equalities policy seriously. The C of E will have taken another step towards becoming an inward looking sect. An interesting twist… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

Thank you, Laurence for your bravery in making your statements which are very helpful, especially in putting into context the various reports in the Press. I wish you and Jeremy much happiness. I learned very many years ago not to believe what is written in the papers when a war was reported in a town in West Africa where my father was living at the time. It took four days to get a phone call to him (does anyone else remember dialling O for the Operator and asking for trunks and then booking a call?) When we got through he… Read more »

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

Do bear in mind, that same sex couples have been married in church too, under the new legislation.

Or do TA commentators over-look weddings in Free Churches ?

The new arrangements include ‘civil marriage’,
but include Churches which wish to avail themselves of the new legal freedoms, and join-in the celebration – in every sense !

fr.rob
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fr.rob

‘Not all opponents of WO are against equal marriage, and some supporters of WO are opposed to equal marriage and enthusiastic about clergy discipline’

But surely both opponents of WO who support equal marriage and supporters of WO who oppose equal marriage are worryingly hermeneutically inconsistent in their approach to Scripture and Tradition? A good reason, surely, for being wary of their presence on Synod?

Rob
Guest
Rob

Jeremy has demonstrated quite clearly what (who) his priority is. I sincerely hope the couple are very happy. And I hope the bishop has the spine to discipline and remove him right away. I am sure Jeremy can continue serving as a chaplain for a religious organization that blesses and affirms his lifestyle. My guess, however, is that the bishop will send him a sad, dithering and confused letter with no real discipline. Such actions, which will be repeated across the church, will send the church into a chaotic season of lawlessness. “Everyone did what was right in his own… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

As a nurse, my first and immediate question is: Why is Jeremy’s work, caring for people who are sick in hospital, in any way effected by arrangements in his private life? I am a transsexual woman, and my ‘diversity’ does not trouble my patients, providing I am caring, practical and helping people with their needs when they are ill. Jeremy will be equally accepted in his caring work with the sick. Surely, in Christian ministry, it’s about the people we are trying to help, isn’t it? It’s not about the church or the bishops or the attempt to impose a… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Such actions, which will be repeated across the church, will send the church into a chaotic season of lawlessness.”

I believe that I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve ever heard marriage described as a lawless behavior.