AS ONE priest celebrated entering a same-sex marriage this
weekend, another faced penalties for doing so.
The Vicar of St Mary with All Souls', Kilburn, and St James's,
West Hampstead, the Revd Andrew Cain, married his partner of 14
years, Stephen Foreshew, on Saturday at Maidenhead register office,
in the presence of two witnesses.
Fr Cain said on Tuesday that it had been emotional. "I've done
lots of weddings; so I was not expecting the service to be moving,
and it was. I was quite tearful at one point, as was Stephen. It
was quite lovely."
He had chosen to have a "very quiet" wedding, he said, to avoid
a "media storm", but had no doubt that getting married was right,
despite House of Bishops guidance that forbids clerics' entering
same-sex marriages (
News, 14 February).
"We now have the freedom to enjoy the same rights as every other
couple. We deliberately were not in a civil partnership, because I
believe in marriage. I am sure it was the right thing to have done.
There are two people in this relationship. My employer may be
uncomfortable with equality for gay and lesbian people, but Stephen
does not work for the Church, and he is in a relationship with me,
and it is also about him."
The House of Bishops has refused to publish a liturgy for the
blessing of same-sex relationships. Fr Cain said that he had asked
the registrar whether it was possible to use the C of E marriage
vows, but had been told that it was not. He then wrote vows based
on those used in the US Episcopal Church.
Fr Cain has not yet heard from his Bishop. Canon Jeremy
Pemberton, however, has heard from two, one from each province. As
the first C of E priest to marry his same-sex partner (News,
17 April), he has received an informal rebuke from the Bishop
of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, in the province of
Canterbury. But he has kept his general preacher's licence, and his
post as Deputy Senior Chaplain and Deputy Bereavement and Voluntary
Services Manager at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. No
action has been taken against him under the Clergy Discipline
Measure, which states: "In the case of many minor complaints an
apology or an informal rebuke may be all that is required and the
full complaints process would not need to come into play."
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the diocese of Lincoln confirmed
that the Bishop had written to Canon Pemberton after his marriage,
"as this action was inconsistent with the House of Bishops'
More severe action has been taken against Canon Pemberton in the
diocese where he lives, Southwell & Nottingham, in the province
of York. In May, his permission to officiate (PTO) was withdrawn by
the Acting Bishop, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, after consultation
with the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu.
On Tuesday, Bishop Inwood said: "In its pastoral guidance on
same-sex marriage, the House of Bishops said that getting married
to someone of the same sex was clearly at variance with the
teaching of the Church of England. 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 & Nottingham has been revoked."
Canon Pemberton's PTO has been revoked without the bringing of a
case against him under the Clergy Discipline Measure. This could be
challenged under judicial review.