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LICHFIELD: I didn't: trainee priests deny getting married

LICHFIELD: I didn't: trainee priests deny getting married
Welby: has established a fragile balance on gay marriage for clergy

But photos tell a different story

By Nicholas Hellen, Social Affairs Editor
The Sunday Times
October 7, 2018

The happy couple walked out of the flower-bedecked church wearing matching buttonholes. Pictures show that a wedding photographer was on hand to capture the moment, away from the church, when they ducked under a shower of confetti.

Had the two young men, both ordinands at Westcott House, an Anglican theological college at Cambridge, defied the teaching of the Church of England by getting married?

Such a move would disrupt a fragile equilibrium established by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the issue of whether to maintain the ban on gay marriage for the clergy.

The younger man, Edwin Wilton-Morgan, 24, appeared to throw down the gauntlet with a statement on his Facebook page that said: "Married to Taylor Wilton-Morgan."

However, as the conservatives in the church began to mobilise in protest, the couple issued a statement to The Sunday Times saying the "relationship descriptor used on our social media accounts was misguided".

Church of England priests are allowed to enter civil partnerships provided they vow to their bishop that they will remain celibate. They are not permitted to marry, because a valid marriage must be consummated.

The couple said the church was aware they are "committed to one another in a civil partnership".

Susie Leafe, a conservative member of the General Synod, the governing body of the church, said: "It seems these two young men have been caught up in all the ambiguities inherent in the Church of England's acceptance of the deeply unsatisfactory civil partnership contract."

VOL footnote: This "wedding" happened in Lichfield diocese. It fits with the Lichfield ad clerum on this issue. Lee Gatiss, reported in May that the Lichfield Diocese issued (a letter to the clergy) on 'Welcoming and honouring LGBT+ People' in the Diocese. "While it is written with some pastoral sensitivity and thoughtfulness, but also reveals some fuzzy thinking. People of any sexual orientation or gender identity should feel welcomed and cared for in our churches. Jesus was not shy about speaking to people with all kinds of backgrounds and histories and neither should Christians be. The good news of eternal life is for all who repent and believe, whatever their starting point when they first encounter Jesus, who lovingly calls us to leave our old lives and follow him in a new direction. When it comes to ordained ministry or taking part in baptism or communion, very great difficulty arises where people have active sexual relationships outside marriage, especially where they see those as intrinsic to their identity." This "wedding" clearly steps over the line.

END

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