Vicar holds lesbian ‘blessing’ ceremony

An Anglican vicar has been reprimanded by the Archbishop of Wales after conducting a church service to bless the civil partnership of a lesbian couple.

Revd Jim Cotter defied the Anglican Communion’s official guidelines by conducting the ceremony at his church in North Wales in July. He described the event as a “day of great delight and healing”.

However, the service reportedly provoked a number of complaints from local parishioners.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has issued a statement confirming that the service was not authorised by the Church in Wales and “should not have taken place”.

Dr Morgan added that he is “dealing with the matter”.

His statement continued: “The Church in Wales does, however, affirm the value of committed friendships between people of the same sex and clergy are encouraged to minister sensitively and pastorally to gay and lesbian people.”

Dr Morgan has been subject to criticism for declaring that he would be happy to ordain homosexual clergy. There has been controversy over suggestions that the openly gay Very Revd Jeffrey John could be made Bishop of Bangor, a position falling within Dr Morgan’s authority.

Earlier this year, a same-sex blessing ceremony was held in an Anglican church in London for two male clergy.

Dr Rowan Williams has warned that liberal bishops in the Church of England face “grave” consequences if they continue to flout the orthodox Christian teaching on homosexuality by blessing same-sex relationships and ordaining gay clergy.

Mike Judge of The Christian Institute said: “It seems that the vicar who conducted this service failed to act within official Anglican guidelines.

“We hope that the Archbishop of Wales will act to prevent the Christian teaching on marriage from being undermined in this way.”