Clergyman in gay marriage told he can’t conduct services

The first Church of England clergyman to enter a same-sex marriage has been told he can no longer conduct services.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton and his partner Laurence Cunnington had a same-sex wedding ceremony in April this year – against official Church of England guidance.

Canon Pemberton can no longer officiate at services in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, but he continues to be a chaplain to hospitals in Lincoln.

Appropriate

The Acting Bishop for Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, explained that the Church’s teaching is clear on gay marriage: “It said it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives.

“In view of this I have spoken to Jeremy Pemberton and subsequently written to him to tell him his permission to officiate in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has been revoked.”

When he entered into a same-sex marriage in April, an evangelical group within the Church of England called for “clear discipline” on the issue, saying anything else would make the Church’s official position look hollow.

Pressure

Rod Thomas, from the Reform church group, commented at the time: “There’s no doubt that there is pressure within some parts of the church for the Church to change its mind on sexuality.

“If there is not clear discipline then it is the equivalent to saying ‘we really didn’t mean what we said.’ It will precipitate a crisis”, he said.

Canon Pemberton, a divorced father of five, had said of his wedding: “I love this man and I want to be married to him. That’s what I want. It is the same as anyone who wants to get married.”

Model

The Church of England’s guidance, released earlier this year, said it is unwilling for someone in a same-sex marriage to be ordained, and would consider it inappropriate for current clergy to enter into a same-sex marriage as people in these positions need to “model the Church’s teaching in their lives”.

Last weekend, a second Church of England clergyman, Revd Andrew Cain, entered a same-sex marriage with his partner Stephen Foreshew.

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