Church of England: Bishop gives backing to rainbow eucharist

Sep 5, 2018 by

Anglican Mainstream report.

A Eucharist to celebrate LGBT Pride has taken place in the Diocese of Oxford with the full backing of the local suffragan Bishop and Archdeacon.

After the service on 30th August, well known LGBT activist and lay member of General Synod Jayne Ozanne tweeted a photo of the service in Reading Minster (Oxford Diocese), where the Communion table is covered with the rainbow flag:

According to the church’s website, the vicar of St Mary the Virgin, the Minster Church of Reading,, Revd Stephen Pullin, is also Area Dean for Reading, and was until early 2018 a Trustee of Church Pastoral Aid Society, an evangelical mission and patronage organization. His wife, Revd Sarah Pullin, was until recently on the Board of Wycliffe Hall, an evangelical training college in Oxford.

The advertisement for the service on the church’s website read:

Drawing on the theme of “Love Unites”, the service will offer a safe, supportive space for you to reflect on your spiritual journey as we give thanks for the love and life we celebrate together.

A leading evangelical clergyman in the Diocese commented that the service “promotes sexual immorality…undermines the gospel and dishonours Christ”, and would cause distress to “faithful gay Christians who are seeking to follow the Bible’s teaching on the right ordering of sexual relationships”. It has since been confirmed that the LGBT Eucharist service was carried out with the approval of the Bishop of Reading, Rt Revd Andrew Proud, and the Archdeacon of Berkshire, Ven. Olivia Graham.

This incident comes at the same time as an announcement by the Church of England of the appointment of Canon Dr Mandy Ford as interim head of Ministry Division, a vital role which involves oversight of the selection and training of clergy across the C of E.

Dr Ford’s main academic research was on the ideas of theologian and philosopher Paul Ricoeur, a French postmodernist whose views on how the biblical text functions in the life of the individual Christian and the church is very different from historic, biblically faithful understandings on how to interpret Scripture as God’s word. Dr Ford is reportedly in a civil partnership, and has been a prominent campaigner for full LGBT ‘inclusion’ from her current position as Canon Chancellor of Southwark Cathedral.

Well-known commentator Bishop Gavin Ashenden said that the Church of England’s leadership could “hardly have found a way to send a clearer signal” of its intention “to change the Church’s culture away from the traditional and biblical view of sexuality and marriage, to embrace the secular and progressive agenda”.

see also:

Rainbow revolution progresses as Bishop of Taunton announced as celebrant at Cathedral LGBT Eucharist, by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream

Church of England appoints lesbian in partnered relationship to interim Director of Ministry, from VirtueOnline

Stonewall CEO offers rationale for LGBT inclusion [at Leicester Cathedral]


See also: Cathedrals fly the rainbow flag, a collection of articles.


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