C of E college held blasphemous service

A Church of England theological college has come under fire for holding a blasphemous service.

The service, at the chapel of Westcott House, Cambridge, was held to mark LGBT history month.

It involved gay slang ‘translations’ of church liturgy and readings from the so-called ‘Polari Bible’, which describes God as ‘Gloria’, Christ as ‘Crystal’ and the Holy Spirit as the ‘Fantabulosa Fairy’.

Polari

Officials at the college authorised the service but say they were unaware of the wording to be used.

Polari is an antiquated slang language used by gay men before homosexuality was legalised.

In 2003, a group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence carried out a full translation of Scripture into Polari.

In a warping of Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11, the Polari Bible website encourages readers to: “Go forth and sin some more!”

Blasphemous readings

A person present at the service told the BBC that it was led by a trainee priest and attended by other trainees.

The readings included Joel 2:13: “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate”.

It was read in Polari as “rend your thumping chest and not your frocks – and turn unto the Duchess your Gloria: for she is bona and merciful”.

The traditional “glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit” became: “Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy”.

‘Upset’

The principal of Westcott House, Revd Canon Chris Chivers, did not admit that the service was blasphemous but said he recognised the “contents of the service are at variance with the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England”.

“Inevitably for some members of the house this caused considerable upset and disquiet and I have spoken at length to those involved in organising the service.

“I will be reviewing and tightening the internal mechanisms of the house to ensure this never happens again”, he said.

‘Utterly unacceptable’’

The Christian Institute’s Head of Communications, Ciarán Kelly, said the principal’s response did not go far enough.