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‘Inclusive eucharist’ scheduled for eve of Lambeth Conference

06 March 2020

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TWO Anglican women priests who have wives will lead an “inclusive eucharist” on the eve of the Lambeth Conference in July.

The Assistant Bishop of New York, the Rt Revd Mary Glasspool, will preside, and Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, an Episcopalian priest who lives in Holland, will preach.

Organised by a group that includes the Campaign for Equal Marriage, Inclusive Church, OneBodyOneFaith, the Ozanne Foundation, and Women and the Church (WATCH), the service will be held at a church (unspecified for security reasons) in Canterbury on 25 July, on the eve of the opening service for the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury Cathedral.

Bishop Glasspool is the first married lesbian bishop in the Anglican Communion: she and her wife, Becki, have been partners for 32 years.

“Like others, I initially queried the use of the phrase ‘inclusive eucharist’, given that all eucharistic celebrations are, of their very essence, inclusive,” she said this week. “However, I am aware that there are, sadly, many places in the world where this is not yet the case. I hope that, in some small way, this celebration can be a part of changing that.”

Canon van Furth, the daughter of the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, was ordained in the Episcopal Church in the United States in 2004 (Interview, 4 April 2014). In 2016, she relinquished her licence to serve as an Anglican priest in the diocese of Saldanha Bay, South Africa, after being warned that it would be revoked after she married a woman (News, 27 May 2016). She lives with her wife, Marceline van Furth, in Holland. She was previously married to a man, with whom she had two children.

“Welcome and hospitality are prized values of the Middle Eastern heritage of our Christian tradition,” she said. “We want every person who joins us in worship to know to the very fibre of their being that they are welcome.”

Entrance to the service will be by ticket only, and details of how to apply will be given nearer the event. It will also be streamed live online.

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