Chaplains coordinate to hold ‘radically inclusive’ services

Nov 9, 2017 by

by Anna Menin, Varsity:

College chaplains from King’s, Trinity, and St John’s are holding a series of special services in their chapels which aim to provide “inclusive spaces” for LGBT+ Christians to “encounter God”. A total of six special services have or will be held across the three colleges this term, the next of which will be King’s College’s ‘Critical Mass’ service on 26 October.

Trinity College chapel will host a Compline+ service on 1 November, followed by another King’s service on 9 November. St John’s Open Table service on 16 November will conclude the series.

Critical Mass services at King’s are billed as “a new kind of worship for students” which is “radically inclusive for all who have open hearts and open minds.” Reverend Andrew Hammond, of King’s, told Varsity that his decision to hold Critical Mass was inspired by the reaction of students to his duet with drag queen Courtney Act at King’s Affair earlier this year, which he described as “extraordinary”.

“[It] really brought home to me how widespread is the view that a priest is bound to be rather hidebound and conservative”, he continued, “and made me realise how much work there is to do.

“King’s has been famous for its liberal approach to any number of issues, not least sexuality and more recently gender identity; and while we have felt wholly in tune with this in the Chapel, our formal worship doesn’t really allow us to articulate it much,” Hammond added.

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Editor’s note: by contrast, another Cambridge College, Clare, refused to allow a prominent churchman with orthodox views to preach in its chapel in October. Anglican Mainstream has learned that Bishop Michael Nazir Ali was due to speak at a conference on Pakistan in Cambridge on October 14th. One of the conference organisers, who is also a fellow of Clare, asked the Chaplain early in 2017 if Bishop Michael could be invited to preach in chapel on Sunday 15th October. The Chaplain responded, after consulting with the college Dean, that an invitation would not be issued, because Nazir-Ali’s conservative views on same sex marriage might cause offence among the college students and staff.

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