NewsMon Jun 16, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Two Homosexual Church of England Ministers “Marry”
By Hilary White
LONDON, June 16, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Two homosexual Anglican ministers were the centre of media attention on the weekend when they undertook a "marriage" ceremony in a Church of England parish. The Rev. Peter Cowell, a London hospital chaplain and a minister at Westminster Abbey, and David Lord, a minister from New Zealand, used a traditional wedding liturgy, involving the exchange of rings and vows, in a direct act of defiance of the Anglican Church’s own norms.
The Bishop of London, the Right Rev. Richard Chartres, is "investigating" the matter; but Cowell was unrepentant yesterday. "Some people have to be courageous," he said. "It was a conscious decision. We did it for each other and for family and friends."
The service included an orchestra and deliberately used as much wording from the Book of Common Prayer order of marriage as possible, with readings, hymns and a eucharistic service. Many senior clergy were among the 300 guests at St. Bartholomew the Great in London, one of England’s oldest churches. This is the first time a vicar has performed the full Anglican wedding ceremony using a traditional marriage liturgy for same-sex partners.
The minister of the parish, Rev. Martin Dudley, said a slightly modified version of the opening of the Prayerbook marriage ceremony: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join these men in a holy covenant of love and fidelity. Such a covenant shows us the mystery of the union between God and God’s people and between Christ and the Church".
The Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, the bishop of Winchester said, "Strictly speaking it is not a marriage, but the language is clearly modelled on the marriage service and the occasion is modelled on the marriage service. This clearly flouts church guidelines and will exacerbate divisions within the Anglican Communion."
The Times reports that some "liberals" in the Church of England who support the homosexualist movement are considering taking the church to court over its refusal to allow homosexuals to "marry."
Under its current rules and constituting documents and in keeping with Christian doctrine, the Anglican Church regards homosexual activity as gravely sinful and does not sanction the partnering of homosexual persons. The determination by the ultra-liberal factions in the UK, the US and Canada to force the church as a whole to accept homosexuality on a par with natural sexual relations has pushed the communion to the brink of dissolution.
Observers are now openly admitting that two warring camps exist in the Church of England and the Worldwide Anglican Communion in general, and many believe that the unity of the Anglican Church will not survive next month’s Lambeth Conference.
Jonathan Wynne-Jones notes in the Daily Telegraph that the event could not have come at a worse time for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is likely facing an irreversible schism in the Anglican Communion over the push by liberals for acceptance of homosexuality.
The Most Rev. Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, called the ceremony "blasphemous" and called on Rowan Williams to take decisive action, warning that the Anglican Church could "disintegrate". Archbishop Orombi added, "What really shocks me is that this is happening in the Church of England that first brought the Gospel to us."
"The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out. Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching."
200 traditionalist bishops, a large number of whom are from the Global South, are planning to attend an alternate meeting as a boycott of Lambeth. The meeting, the Global Anglican Future Conference, will be held in Jordan and will likely result in a declaration that the liberal factions have separated themselves from the Church.
Read extensive LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
The Split Widens: Anglican Bishops Call Global Conference for Traditional Anglicans
The Split Widens: Leader of Traditional Anglicans to Speak in Vancouver Friday
Largest Anglican Parish in Canada Secedes over Same-Sex Blessings
Anglican Church of Canada Loses Prominent Theologian over its "Poisonous Liberalism"