First Female Diocesan Bishop in C. of E.

Press release From:

The Queen has approved the nomination of Venerable Rachel Treweek for election as Bishop of Gloucester.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Rachel Treweek, BA, BTh, Archdeacon of Hackney, for election as Bishop of Gloucester in succession to the Right Reverend Michael Francis Perham, MA, whose resignation took effect on the 21 November 2014.

Notes for editors

The Venerable Rachel Treweek (nee Montgomery) aged 52, studied at Reading University and trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. She served her first curacy at Saint George and All Saints, Tufnell Park in the Diocese of London from 1994 to 1997 and was Associate Vicar from 1997 to 1999.

From 1999 to 2006 she was Vicar at Saint James the Less, Bethnal Green and Continuing Ministerial Education Officer for the Stepney Episcopal Area. From 2006 to 2011 she was Archdeacon of Northolt in the Diocese of London. Since 2011 she has been Archdeacon of Hackney. In 2013 she was elected as Participant Observer in the House of Bishops for the South East Region.

Rachel is married to Guy, Priest-in-Charge of two parishes in the City of London.

Her interests include conflict transformation, walking and canoeing.


It just had to happen! Shortly after Australia appointed its First Female Diocesan Bishop, the Mother Church of England has come up with its own First Female Diocesan Bishop.

It took the Province of Canterbury (C. of E.) a while to get into gear with the appointment of Women Bishops – pipped at the post by the Province of York, which now has no less than two Women Bishops, both Suffragans and not Diocesan Bishops, but Bishops just the same.

However, Canterbury’s First Woman Bishop (of Gloucester) is also the First Diocesan Woman Bishop, a Bishop in the Church of England who will also be welcomed soon as the First Woman Bishop with a seat in the House of Lords. Now this really is a FIRST that only the Church of England – among all the Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion – can offer.

Here is the announced from the Church, received here today: 

The Church of England issued a press release welcoming the Royal Assent which includes this:

“Under the terms of the Act, the Venerable Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney, who is announced today as the next Bishop of Gloucester will become the first female diocesan bishop to join the Bishops’ Benches in the House of Lords.

“Archdeacon Rachel will take the place vacated by the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who retires on July 11. She will be introduced into the House of Lords after the summer recess”.

Now this really is progress!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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ABC Presides at re-Interment of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral

Reburial of Richard III draws thousands to Leicester Cathedral

Tim Wyatt       by Tim Wyatt – ‘CHURCH TIMES’ – Posted: 23 Mar 2015 @ 06:26 GMT
Click to enlarge

Repose: King Richard’s coffin lies in the Cathedral, on Sunday evening

THOUSANDS of people were queuing outside Leicester Cathedral to view the coffin that holds the remains of Richard III. It is to be buried in the cathedral on Thursday (today).

The king’s remains were taken from the University of Leicester in procession around the area before arriving at the cathedral on Sunday. They had been discovered in 2012 buried underneath a car park in Leicester, the site of an former medieval friary.

On the way to the cathedral, the procession carrying the coffin paused at Bosworth Field, where the Plantagenet king was killed in battle in 1485. The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, officiated at a short service, and said: “Richard was carried from this field to Leicester as a defeated man. Today, 530 years later, we have an opportunity to allow Richard to take that journey again, but this time with the dignity which befits a king.”

Compline was sung in the cathedral on Sunday evening after the procession arrived. The coffin was sprinkled with holy water and censed before the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, gave a homily.

“We are gathered in this cathedral to remember the extraordinary life of King Richard III and to pray for the eternal repose of his soul,” he said. Richard had not been a faultless man, he said, but he he had been a baptised and earnest believer. “We pray that, being brought into the presence of that Divine majesty, Richard may be embraced by God’s merciful love, there to await the final resurrection of all things in the fullness of time.”


Click to enlarge

Respects: members of the public queued for up to four hours to view the coffin, on Monday

So many people have attempted to view his coffin at the cathedral that some have been forced to wait up to four hours, and the opening hours have been extended. At one stage, the cathedral authorities asked people to stop joining the long line, but this decision was reversed shortly afterwards.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will preside at Richard’s reburial service on Thursday.


The day has now arrived (Thursday, 26 March 2015) when the remains (bones) of the Plantagenet King Richard III will be re-interred in Leicester Cathedral in the English Midlands. The Archbishop of Canterbury, ++Justin Welby, will be Presiding over the ceremony. This will draw to a dramatic close the saga of the archeological discovery of the remains of his body, buried beneath the site of a medieval friary in the vicinity, and carried there after King Richard’s defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field, in 1485.

The bones of the one-time King of England were carried in a coffin in a procession which came to rest in Leicester Cathedral last Saturday (21 March). On Sunday Evening, the Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, ++Vincent Nichols, prayed at the catafalque, ending with these words; which might grace the interment of any Baptised, believing child of God:

“”We are gathered in this cathedral to remember the extraordinary life of King Richard III and to pray for the eternal repose of his soul,” he said. Richard had not been a faultless man, he said, but he had been a baptised and earnest believer. “We pray that, being brought into the presence of that Divine majesty, Richard may be embraced by God’s merciful love, there to await the final resurrection of all things in the fullness of time.”

May he rest in peace, and rise with Christ in glory. Amen.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Second Female Church of England Bishop

Church appoints second woman bishop

Reverend Canon Alison White
Reverend Canon Alison White will be consecrated on 3 July

A second woman has been appointed a bishop by the Church of England.

The new Bishop of Hull will be the Reverend Canon Alison White, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has announced.

Mrs White is currently priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle.

Dr Sentamu said: “This is a joyous day. I am delighted to be welcoming Alison as the next Bishop of Hull. She’s a very gifted person.”

Mrs White said she was “absolutely amazed” by the news.

“It’s been a long time in coming and so many people have prayed, hoped and thought about the way God is taking this into the future,” she said.

“It feels like a wonderful gift. It’s going to be a huge adventure.

“Hull’s got a great story. I love that video that was done in support of its bid to be City of Culture. What a wonderful time to be coming in as Bishop of Hull, it couldn’t be better.”

The Church of England’s first woman bishop is The Rt Rev Libby Lane, who was consecrated as the eighth Bishop of Stockport at York Minster in January.

Mrs White replaces the Right Rev Richard Frith, who became Bishop of Hereford in November 2014.

She will be consecrated at York Minster on 3 July.

The 58-year-old became a priest in 1996 and has served in Durham, Sheffield, Peterborough and Newcastle.

She is married to Bishop Frank White, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle. The couple have family in England and South Africa.

The Church’s General Synod formally approved plans in November to ordain women bishops after years of division and in the face of stiff opposition.


Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent

Frank and Alison White – or Mr and Mrs Bishop, as they will be – are the first married couple who’ll both serve as bishops in the Church of England. Welcoming her appointment, the Archbishop of York said his first reaction was simple: “Yippee! She has great people skills.”

The Whites met in 1980 and married in 1982, and Canon Alison White says that even as bishops, “we are first and foremost Frank and Alison – we’ve been married for over 30 years now.”

Both finish each other’s sentences, and Frank adds that they are great friends and “I think we’ll learn from one another and share stories along the way.” They’re relieved that they can now share the news with friends and family, having known about the appointment for several weeks.

Asked if there is any rivalry between them, both shake their heads in unison. Bishop Frank White is a Newcastle United supporter, and has spent years trying to persuade his wife that football is a good thing – and hopes she will now become a great supporter of Hull City.

Alison pays tribute to the work of Libby Lane, the first woman to be appointed as a bishop in the Church of England. She says that having two bishops in one family may seem excessive, but that it is their marriage that’s sustained both her and her husband Frank, as well as their shared vocation – even if her new appointment means they’ll both be busier than ever.


This news, hot off the press from the Anglican Church News Service (ACNS), will surely boost the aspirations of women clergy in the Church of England, who believe the time for women bishops is well overdue. Coming shortly after the episcopal ordination of Bishop Libby Lane (Bishop of Stockport, also in the York Province of the C.of E. under the current leadership of Archbishop John Sentamu), the news of the appointment of future Bishop Alison White will surely prompt the Southern Province of Canterbury into some sort of reactive response.

With Canon Alison White’s episcopal ordination, this will produce the first pair of married bishops in the Church of England; and probably the first in the Anglican Communion. This does beg the question of where they might choose to live. Alison’s husband, +Frank White, is already the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, while Alison will become the Bishop of Hull. There future ministry is liable to be more than merely busy.

While there are cases in the Church of England of husband and wife as co-Vicars of a parish, this will surely test the capacity of each person in the marriage partnership – in the exercise of an even more responsible dual role in the Church. May God bless their joint ministry.


A glance at the Wikipedia history of the Diocese of Hull produces the following:

The Bishop of Hull is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of York, England.[1] The suffragan bishop, along with the Bishop of Selby and the Bishop of Whitby, assists the Archbishop of York in overseeing the diocese.

The title takes its name after the city of Kingston upon Hull and was first created under the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534.[2] Today, the Bishop of Hull is responsible for the Archdeaconry of the East Riding. The see has been vacant since 17 October 2014, when Richard Frith was translated to Hereford.[3]

List of bishops:

Bishops of Hull
From Until Incumbent Notes
1538 1559 Robert Pursglove Consecrated on 29 December 1538; deprived 1559.
1559 1891 in abeyance
1891 1910 Richard Blunt
1910 1913 John Augustine Kempthorne [4] Translated to Lichfield
1913 1929 Francis Gurdon
1929 1931 no appointment
1931 1934 Bernard Heywood Translated to Ely
1934 1957 Henry Vodden
1957 1965 George Townley
1965 1977 Hubert Higgs
1977 1981 Geoffrey Paul Translated to Bradford
1981 1994 Donald Snelgrove
1994 1998 James Jones Translated to Liverpool
1998 17 October 2014 Richard Frith Translated to Hereford
3 July 2015 bishop-designate Alison White[5] Consecration announced for 3 July 2015.

It should be noted that there is still no female ‘Diocesan Bishop’ in the Church of England – even though both the Bishop of Stockport, +Libby Lane, and the upcoming Bishop of Hull, Canon Alison White, are both anointed bishops. They will each exercise their ministry as a ‘suffragan’ bishop – under the authority of their respective diocesan bishops.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Bob Jones’ Apology for ‘Stone The Gays’ Remark


At Religion News Service, Kevin Eckstrom reports on a rather unexpected, much belated apology. In 1980, during a visit to the White House, former Bob Jones University president Bob Jones III suggested that the United States should consider stoning homosexuals.

“I’m sure this will be greatly misquoted,” Jones said. “But it would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel’s day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands.”

Three years ago, BJUnity, an organization of LGBT alumni, launched a petition asking Jones to apologize for the remarks. This past weekend, he did:

Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger — were my name not attached. I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners.

To take Jones at his word is to grant that his comments were an aberration, not just in the mainstream discourse of the time, but also within his own thinking. His advocacy of stoning was the product of one moment – divorced from anything before or since – in which he misspoke and misrepresented himself terribly. It was an inopportune moment to be sure, in that he happened to be speaking to the President of the United States.

There are reasons to doubt Jones’ sincerity. Critics will be quick to observe, for instance, that his comments were delivered alongside a petition opposing legal protections for gays and lesbians. They will also observe that Bob Jones University continues to forbid all same-sex dating, and that it forbade interracial dating up until 2000. There are thus grounds for the claim that prejudice is more rule than exception in the Bob Jones universe.

But this is not the case. Current arguments against equal rights for the LGBT community acquire new dimensions when understood in light of that history. This is a point I’ve made before, and I understand that saying it again runs the risk of redundancy. But I believe it is central and vital to any accurate reading of contemporary conservative discourse on LGBT issues.

BJUnity has forgiven Bob Jones, which strikes me as a very Christian thing to do. But in forgiving, we should be careful never, ever to forget.


NO! For New Zealand readers, this is not the Bob Jones that we know, an icon of Kiwi macho culture; but ‘Bob Jones III, President of Bob Jones University, in the U.S., which:  “continues to forbid all same-sex dating, and which forbade interracial dating up until 2000″.

Mr. Jones now expresses his regret for having made the remark ‘Stone the Gays’ in the presence of the President of the United States in 1980: “I  cannot erase (the words), but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners”

So, despite his apology for the original offence, Mr. Jones still asserts that homosexuals are in a special category of people that he is content to label “sinners”. Of course, although he may not recognise this for himself, all human beings are sinners, but redeemed by Christ! However, the very way in which Mr. Jones still, obviously, categorises homosexual people as what he may still think of as special ‘sinners’  – whom he once thought worthy of being stoned to death – still seems to fall short of the character and ethos of the forgiveness he is now seeking for himself (after a 34 year hiatus).

Keith Ekstrom (the writer of this article on ‘Religion Dispatches’ web-site) makes a very valid point when he, in acknowledging  BJUnitys’s forgiveness of Bob Jones, makes this statement:

“Jones’ apology is important and conciliatory to those students and alumni alienated by his words. For the rest of us, it may be useful as a synecdoche for the rhetorical posture of conservative evangelicalism writ large. Burdened with a history of vicious anti-gay arguments, these speakers and advocates hope to simply disavow it, to proceed against equality movements in the present as though their opposition has always been purely intellectual and well-intended, as though they don’t even recognize the noxious forms it has until recently taken.”

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Second* Woman Diocesan Anglican Bishop in Australia

“CHALLENGING, a bit terrifying, but also really exciting” that’s how Gippsland’s newly ordained Anglican Bishop Kay Goldsworthy describes the job in front of her.

Bishop Goldsworthy was officially installed into her new role as the head of the Gippsland diocese on Saturday, replacing John McIntyre who died unexpectedly last year.

Originally from Melbourne, Bishop Goldsworthy has been a part of a number of historical firsts for the Anglican Church in Australia.

She was among the first group of women to be ordained deacons in 1986, before also being one of the first installed to the role of priest in 1992.

However, by far her biggest accolade was being named as the first female Anglican Bishop in Australia.

“It was an absolute honour,” Bishop Goldsworthy said. “I was one of 10 women who were made a priest when I was ordained, but as a bishop usually you’re it, you’re the person. So I felt very aware that I was going to be standing alone and there was a sense of privilege, honour and responsibility.”

It is an honour that has taken Bishop Goldsworthy across the width of the country, arriving in Sale from her latest appointment as assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Perth.

Bishop Kay Goldsworthy at her installation.

Bishop Kay Goldsworthy at her installation.

Moving from one of the nation’s capital cities to a less populated regional diocese is something she believes is all a natural part of her vocation.

“For Christians vocation has always got to be part of our language,” she said.

“(You have) to be open to the idea that God might, as one prayer we have says, ‘disturb our settled lives’. My life is very settled really and this call and answering it, being open to the possibility that God was moving me towards this and moving the diocese of Gippsland towards this was very important.”

First introduced to the church as a child by her parents, she chose to dedicate her life to the church for a simple reason.

“I grew up in a family of believers, not big church goers, but believers, and I think that the story of Jesus made sense for me,” Bishop Goldsworthy said.

Over the nearly three decades she has been dedicated to the religion, Bishop Goldsworthy has seen many changes both inside and outside the walls of the church.

From the increase in leadership roles for women in the church, to the decline of rural communities and the environmental footprint being left for future generations. Bishop Goldsworthy hopes to be able to have an influence and make a difference in the many challenges facing the Gippsland region.

“We do have a responsibility about how we leave our footprint and what kind of footprint we do leave for the next generations,” she said.

“I think one of the challenges is the future of coal and the impact of that on local communities and the environmental issues around that. It’s such a kind of two edged thing, we know this, but we also know that we need to live and we need to provide for our families and we need jobs.”

However, the Bishop admits her most immediate challenge will be to find her way around the region and to get to know the area.

“I had been to parts of Gippsland before and I grew up in Melbourne, so I knew bits and pieces about different parts of Gippsland,” she said.

“My father can tell terrific stories about both fishing and rabbiting in this part of the world when he was a young man, and I’m looking forward to learning about things like this beautiful, beautiful lake system, the waters are just gorgeous.”

Bishop Goldsworthy hopes her affect on the diocese which stretches from Orbost in the east to Nar Nar Goon in the west will not be limited to just those within the church or school walls, but will positively impact all throughout the communities.

“I hope that I’ve got an attentive ear to listen to their hopes and their dreams and their anxieties and to be still enough to be able to pray with people and to sit with people in the very hardest of times, as well as cheer them on in the best of times.”

There will be more photos from the installation in Friday’s Gippsland Times.


This article, in the ACNA web-site from the Gippsland Times in Australia, bring the good news of the installation of the new Bishop of Gippsland.  Bishop Kay Goldsworthy is now the second* woman to be be given charge of a diocese in Australia.

As one of the first women deacons in the Australian Anglican Church in 1986, +Kay was ordained to the priesthood in 1992. She was the first woman to be ordained a bishop in the Church, serving as an assistant bishop in the Perth Diocese. In moving to Gippsland, she has now been installed as the second female diocesan bishop in the Australian Church.

This promotion of Bishop Kay further denotes the importance of women as co-leaders in the Church in Australia, bringing it into the ethos of other Anglican Church around the world who have entrusted women with the task of teaching and pastoring the Faithful of the body of Christ in the world. My prayers are for her nurture and blessing in this role.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

(n.b.I had originally said that +Kay Goldsworth had added another ‘first’  to her record of clerical advancements in the Australian Anglican Church. However, Brian Ralph has kindly informed me that +Kay was only the second* woman to be installed as a diocesan bishop in Australia. Sarah Macneil is the current Anglican Bishop of Grafton. She was consecrated and installed as bishop on 1 March 2014)

n.b (2) Brother Donald Andrew, SSF., now tells me that Gippsland is not actually a real ‘diocese’ but only a region in a diocese. So this makes +Kay, like Bishop Libby Lane, in the Church of England, still an ‘assistant’ – ‘suffragan’ – rather than a ‘diocesan’ bishop.

Stop Press: Bro Donald now tells me he was mistaken. Gippsland is a diocese. Oh dear!

Father Ron Smith.

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‘Taonga’ article on the future of Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch cathedral deadlock broken?

Bishop Victoria Matthews is commending a scheme by Sir Miles Warren as a possible way to break the deadlock over the city’s ravaged cathedral.

TAONGA NEWS   |  18 MAR 2015  |

Bishop Victoria Matthews has encouraged her diocese to consider a scheme by Sir Miles Warren to rebuild the Cathedral in the Square.

Bishop Victoria has drawn the attention of her diocese to the lead story in today’s edition of The Press – which confirms that the Diocese of Christchurch has been talking again with Sir Miles about his restoration scheme, as a way of breaking the four-year legal deadlock over the future of the ruined cathedral.

Two years ago Sir Miles, who is the city’s most celebrated architect, had proposed that the iconic cathedral be rebuilt in lightweight modern materials – with a rebuilt, earthquake-strengthened stone base (to window sill height), wooden walls above that, and a copper-clad roof and spire.

In essence, Sir Miles’ scheme – which he had first proposed in late 2012 – is back on the table again.

Compromise sought

Christchurch’s Church Property Trustees began talking with him again last December, as a way of seeking a compromise that might break the deadlock.

In an email broadcast this morning, Bishop Victoria commends The Press story, and a video clip of Sir Miles talking about his scheme, to her diocese “for your consideration.”

“The Church Property Trustees,” she wrote, “have not made a commitment to this or any other design for the Cathedral at this stage, so we are eager to know what people’s thoughts are.”

The Press story says the Warren option would cost about $35 million and take three years to complete – though the Church Property Trustees estimate that when the costs of demolition and escalation are taken into account, the costs of the Warren scheme would be about the same as building a new cathedral from scratch.

In May 2013, Sir Miles had said that one of the “valid criticisms” of the ruined stone cathedral was that the congregation in the side aisles “was visually and acoustically separated from the nave by large, closely-spaced stone columns and arches.”

Bishop Victoria has today pointed out that the sight-lines in the cathedral envisaged by Sir Miles would be much better – because the stone columns would be replaced by fewer slender wooden columns – and the floor would be on one level.

The way it was supposed to be?

“The ability to re-arrange the chairs in the Transitional Cathedral,” she wrote this morning “has convinced us that multiple seating options are essential for new builds and re-builds…  It is also worth noting that (by) using new materials, the weight of the Cathedral would be less than a tenth of what the Cathedral in the Square weighed.”

Ironically, Sir Miles’ vision for the cathedral is to rebuild as it was supposed to be, but never was.

When he was commissioned to design the cathedral in 1858, George Gilbert Scott had proposed that it should be built in wood – as  Auckland’s St Mary’s pro-cathedral and Wellington’s Old St Paul’s were.

But Scott’s first design was vetoed by church authorities, who insisted that the entire building be built in stone.

To read today’s full Press story, click here .

To read a March 2013 Press article in which Sir Miles outlines his scheme more fully, click here .


Bishop Victoria Matthews – our Diocesan Bishop – has recommended the public study and consideration of a proposal to consider the extant plan by eminent Christchurch architect, Sir Miles Warren, to build a wooden structure inside the footprint of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

This proposal was initially shelved, in support in some quarters in the diocese, for the complete demolition of the severely compromised Gothic-style stone building, to make way for a more modern structure, of lighter materials calculated to better stand future seismic activity and to inspire the citizens of Christchurch towards the future of the City.

Because of the legal challenges that have arisen from people concerned with the expected loss of a heritage building – the building of the Cathedral had initially afforded civic status to the City of Christchurch in the new Dominion, guaranteed by Queen Victoria –  and concerns about the claims for insurance of the quake-damaged building; 4 years have passed without any progress either in demolition or the provision of a new building.

The interesting point about Sir Miles’ plans for a wooden building, is that this was the original proposition made by the original architect, George Gilbert Scott. However, this plan was passed over in favour of the stone building which was eventually erected, and which has been damaged in successive earthquakes which have happened since.

While many of us in the diocese would prefer a brand new building – built to modern seismic protection standards – that would provide both a practical and beautiful worship space, as well as a fitting memorial to those who died in the earthquake – the time has perhaps come when Sir Miles Warren’s suggestion for a wooden structure to be built inside the modified stone shell needs to be seriously considered, and either implemented or bypassed in order to make way for a new modern building. That something needs to be done is now more than merely apparent!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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What will the Church do about ‘Same-Sex Marriage’?

In the next couple of weeks I will have the real joy and privilege of sitting down with a couple of young women who are planning their marriage later this year. The excitement is palpable, and I am very happy to be involved in putting together a service of blessing for them on the milestone occasion of their wedding.

I am a Reader, licensed to a team of 6 churches, and for me, there is a real sense of pain and embarrassment as I am not in a position to plan the celebration in their village church. They are both well integrated into the small village community, and train a local footie team; yet on the day when they are planning a service to recognise their commitment and love for each other, in the presence of God, family and friends the church will remain locked.

I long for the day when all the love and energy of such an occasion will find a place and outlet in the parish church. The community will come together and celebrate, God will be very present at the heart of the celebrations, and the strains of laughter and dancing will only be heard through the heavy closed door of the church.

This is all so wrong.

It is for such injustices that I have been working as a trustee of CA since 2007, and why I am happy to take up the role of coordinator when Colin retires in July.

Jeremy Timm  ‘Changing Attitude’

Coordinator (to be!)


This article, by the next Coordinator of the U.K. Anglican ‘Changing Attitude’ Group, speaks of the frustration being experienced by many in the Church who believe that God would not withhold a blessing from a same-sex couple who want to publicly express their faithful monogamous relationship amongst their friends in a Church building – rather than in a secular venue.

In a Church which is even at this time promoting a ‘Conversation’ amongst people on both sides of this issue – of Same-Sex Blessings & Marriage – there is a sense of having moved too little and too late on a matter that has been settled in society by the provision of legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Whether the Church likes it or not, same-sex marriage is now a civic reality. What the Church will do to accommodate people who are in this situation – of being legally married in the community – will be of intense interest, not only to the people concerned, but to their families and friends who have already accepted them.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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