Live updates

Gay clergyman breaks CoE's same-sex marriage ban

A gay clergyman has become the first ordained priest to break the Church of England's ban on same-sex marriage since it was legalised this year.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire, reportedly tied the knot with long-term partner Laurence Cunnington yesterday.

The Church of England has barred gay ordained priests from marrying their partners.

The House of Bishops' pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage issued in February says: "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."

The Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, said he had been made aware of the clergyman's intention to marry his partner.

"The Church of England is shortly to enter a process of facilitated discussions about its response to same-sex marriage," he said.

"I am committed to entering that process in a spirit of honesty and integrity, seeking to discern the spirit of God at work in the Church as we seek to understand the nature of marriage in the future."

Welby to urge Church of England to 'culture change'

The Archbishop of Canterbury will issue a plea today for the Church of England to "challenge fear" within its ranks as new legislation to introduce women bishops looks on course to gain approval later this year.

The Most Rev Justin Welby is due to say that there needs to be a "cultural change" in the life of the Church to build love and trust between opposing groups.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will address the General Synod today. Credit: Press Association

"We have agreed and God willing we follow this through over the next few months until it is part of an agreed measure, that we will ordain women as bishops," he will say in his presidential address to the General Synod.

"At the same time we have agreed that while doing that, we want all parts of the Church to flourish. If we are to challenge fear we have to find a cultural change in the life of the Church, in the way our groups and parties work, sufficient to build love and trust."

His remarks were being made after the General Synod voted yesterday to fast track legislation which could see the first woman bishop in the Church of England selected by the end of the year.


Female priests welcome step towards women bishops

Females priests have welcomed fast-track legislation which could see women bishops selected in the Church of England by the end of the year.


358 in favour, 39 against, 9 abstentions. This means there will be a final debate and vote on WOMEN BISHOPS this JULY #yay

Women bishop legislation hailed step to 'Promised Land'

Legislation which could see the first female bishop in the Church of England selected before the end of this year has been hailed as a step towards the "Promised Land".

A move to halve the consultation period was backed by 358 General Synod members, with 39 voting against and nine abstaining.

Lois Haslam, a member from Chester diocese, speaking in the debate over the legislation, said: "I feel something like what Moses must have felt as he approached the promised land.

"We have wandered round women bishops legislation for many, many years, we are now approaching the promised land and it is exciting."


Reverend: Church has to decide changes 'as a family'

Rev Sally Hitchiner
The Rev Sally Hitchiner admitted it was frustrating the debate on women bishops had not moved quicker. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

The Church decides changes "as a family", which is why the debate of women bishops had been raging for 20 years, Rev Sally Hitchiner told Daybreak.

"The problem is that we are not business. We can't just decide things because it is best for our brand," said the Anglican priest.

"We have to decide things as a family, and as a family we have to make sure no one gets left out. So, that's why it has taken this really long process.

"It is quite embarrassing - most of my friends outside the Church think we're quite bonkers. In this day and age why are still there things women cannot do in the UK?"

Read: Church of England Synod to vote on women bishops

Words 'devil' and 'sin' cast out of new Baptism service

No mention of the devil or sin is made in the new version of the Baptism service in which parents and godparents are asked to "reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises".

A sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury in Kent. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

In the original version the vicar asks: "Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?", prompting the reply: "I reject them." They then ask: "Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?" with the answer: "I repent of them."

"Instead of explaining what baptism means and what the various parts of the service signify, its solution is to do away with key elements of the service altogether!" Dr Nazir-Ali says in the article.

Church of England accused of 'dumbing down' Baptism

The Church of England has been accused of "dumbing down" the baptism service, one of the cornerstones of the faith, by changing its wording so parents and godparents no longer have to "repent sins" and "reject the devil".

Michael James Nazir-Ali before his enthronement as 106th Bishop of Rochester.

A trial of the new wording, aimed at making it easier to understand, will last in parishes until Easter.

Former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, writing in The Mail on Sunday, branded it as part of the "constant dumbing down of Christian teaching" rather than making an effort to explain the meaning of baptism.

Read: Church of England accused of 'dumbing down' Baptism

Load more updates


Today's top stories