Parish

Cocktails at the Vicarage – Sat 8th September 2018 7pm

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The closest you have come to a cocktail might have been one of those pre-mixed cans or a large bright-blue thing in a pitcher at Spoons. But we’re going to introduce to you some proper cocktails, some new ones, some classics and some of our favourites, coupled with food to match and to enhance. We hope it will be a fun, informative and above all delicious evening to raise funds for the Friends of S. Mary’s.

From  Martinis and Margaritas to Old Fashioneds, Mohitos, Gimlets and Sparkling Wine cocktails like the LPF, there is something here for all tastes and perhaps an introduction to something new.

All this for just a measly tenner. Spaces are limited, so book your place now. Call Fr Simon on 07976 802123 simon@rundell.org.uk or Lou Rundell on 07971 527734 lou@rundell.org.uk.

Parish

Meditation for Good Friday: the Final Seven Words of Jesus

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1. “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34) (1:07)

Forgiveness is terribly easy to ask from others, and yet so very hard to give from ourselves. As Our Lord was nailed to the instrument of his passion, he spoke asking the Father’s forgiveness, whilst he freely forgave them himself, for as St. John repeatedly notes: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel: at the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, Christ calls for repentance, metanoia to herald the Kingdom of God. His whole ministry is to seek to reconcile God and his creation once more, and the route to that reconciliation is forgiveness: The woman accused of adultery was told “go, and sin no more” (John 8:11), the paralysed man lowered through the roof told that “his sins were forgiven” (Mark 2:5), and the woman who anointed Our Lord’s feet was given the same dispensation (Luke 7:48): “your sins are forgiven”: simple words, such power, such authority.

We pray that we too may be forgiven, for our manifold sins. Forgiveness is part of God’s grace and is freely given, if we but have the courage to ask for it.

We pray that we may also forgive: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. It is not only those who bear hammer and nails against us whom we need to forgive; but those whose offenses are in comparison, quite small. “How many times should I forgive my brother, Lord? Seven times?” “Not seven, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).

“They know not what they do” … and neither do we.

(Silence)

2. “I assure you: this day you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:34) (1:14)

The penitent thief is the only person recorded in the Scriptures who speaks directly to Christ, addressing him by his own name. Not Rabbi, not Master, not Lord, but simply and directly: Jesus.

Such honesty was not bourne out of overfamiliarity, or rudeness, but out of a common bond between them: the bond of the condemned cell. Our Lord and these thieves shared an intimacy which we can only hope to aspire to: to be alongside Christ, and more importantly, to have Christ alongside us in our hour of need.

When we glance away from our own crucifixion, we may just be able to glimpse Christ crucified alongside us; suffering as we suffer, suffering greater as he suffers not only our pain and anguish, but the pain, anguish and bitterness of the whole world. And we hope to hear those words, available to all who have the courage to ask of Christ: “You will be with me in paradise”

We pray for the faith to spot Christ alongside us, especially when we are so wrapped up in our own crucifixion to notice His; and we pray that we may have the opportunity, no matter how fleeting or transitory, to experience the intimacy of Christ: to feel his love and concern, to allow his Grace to guide us to our heavenly home.

(Silence)

3. “Woman, behold your son.” (John 19: 26) (1:21)

Theotokos – “God Bearer”: Our Lady carried such responsibility; in her womb, in her upbringing of the Saviour of the World, in her faithful following of her Son’s ministry from that first sign at Cana in Galillee (John 2) to the foot of the Cross and to the Garden early that Sunday. It was a responsibility which would be almost impossible for any human to carry alone, but for God’s grace. The same Grace which removed the stain of Original Sin from Our Lady is the same Grace which redeems us all, and all we have to do is to accept that Grace from God: “be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38)

We give honour to Our Lady because she is a model for us of humankind’s response to God in faith. So often we find our own faith obstructed by practicalities and earthly considerations: other things to do or say and God’s call to us buried amid the hubbub of daily life and work. Our Lady’s response was to say yes to God without thought or consideration or reference to earthly concerns – a miraculous child born of an unmarried girl far away from home. For this faith, Our Lady is rewarded with a further task: as the beloved disciple is commended to her, so we are commended to her care and her intercession, for we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

We pray alongside Our Lady, our adoptive mother to God, asking her intercession for those things in our lives which need the Grace of God to help us through: the sicknesses, the anxieties, the worldly concerns.

We pray that our response may also be “be it done unto me according to thy word”.

(Silence)

4. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27: 46) (1:28)

There is a dark night that the soul must endure, before it reaches it’s goal – to be with God. On that journey as described by St. John of the Cross, there will be times when one might be forgiven for feeling forsaken by God.

Psalm 22, which Our Lord recalls, speaks of desolation and isolation, but if we focus only on the first half of the Psalm, we lose to context of Christ’s quotation: Christ spoke in an age when the Scriptures were identified by their opening lines: we begin with “Our Father…” and we know the rest of the prayer, Our Lord said “Eloi, Eloi…” and the faithful would recall the whole Psalm. The second and longer part of the Psalm speaks of faith and redemption, of Grace and fulfilment.

For each dark night, there is a brilliant day which follows it.

Even with the sins of the world on his back, Our Lord was not deserted by God, for he carried the promise of hope and fulfilment with him.

In our darkest nights, we pray that we too may be able to recall that promise, that redemption, that Grace. We pray that others whom we see ensnared by despair may be able to complete their Psalm, and see the joy which comes in the morning.

We pray for the dawn from on high, to sustain us through our dark night, until at last we achieve our soul’s perfection.

(Silence)

5. “I thirst.” (John 19: 28) (1:35)

We are driven by our own concerns and needs, our self-centeredness and our conceit; yet the call of the Christian is to emulate the selfless love of Our Saviour as he hung on the tree. Christ’s humanity and his divinity are exposed on the cross, and the vulnerability of He who moved over the waters was displayed for all to see.

Christ’s thirst was not only physical, but was a thirst for our redemption; a desire so compelling that he would accept the cup ordained for him by his Father.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)

What do we thirst for? Our own needs? Our petty desires? Or do we thirst for Christ, as the deer pants for the water (Psalm 42:1).

We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith or their convictions. We pray that we may receive the Grace to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

(Silence)

6. “It is completed.” (John 19: 30) (1:42)

The last words of Christ were not words of resignation or defeat, but a shout of triumph to cut through the pain and desolation. Christ did not whimper “I am finished”, but proclaimed to the dark sky and the shaking earth the news that death had been conquered, Adam’s had been repaid and humankind would be released: “it is completed!”

“Now Lord, you let your servant depart in peace” (Luke 2:29) was Simeon’s prayer, knowing that what was promised to him had been completed. Too often, we are impatient, and look for the quick fix, the easy way out, the short cut, and thus prevent Our Lord from completing his task within us. We are works in progress, drafts on the potter’s wheel; we are shaped and formed by our loving creator and it is only by his act on the cross that we are complete.

We pray for the Grace given freely to Simeon, to accept with faith the promises God makes to us, for the perseverance to see our calling through to its proper conclusion.

(Silence)

7. “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” (Luke 23: 46) (1:49)

With these words, the divine word returns back to the one who sent him. His redeeming work complete, the atonement fulfilled. By pouring himself out for us (Philippians 2:5-11), he shows us the supreme self-sacrificing love for us of the Creator. With these final words he died, and the servant suffered for the last time.

What follows is silence.

(Silence)

At the end of our lives, it will only be by God’s Grace that we can commend our souls to him. It is a Grace freely given, fully won, completely atoned.

It is our salvation which calls us from the Cross.

(Silence)

Parish

Contact Details

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We don’t send out a lot of eMails: promise, and we are definitely not selling anything, but adding your name to our mailing list means we can keep in touch. You can unsubscribe at any time. It’s a nice way to keep in touch with what’s happening, and if it works out, I plan to send out the parish noticesheet and anything else which saves paper.

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Fr Simon can be contacted day or night on 07976 802123

We don’t use a landline for anything. If you see an 01752 number for the parish clergy or office, it won’t work.

Your clergy are here for you. If you are a little lonely or down, need some help, advice, spiritual counsel or prayer. Or even if you just want a cup of tea with someone –  If you are in hospital and want a visit call Fr. Simon. Although he has many gifts, being psychic isn’t one of them, so unless you ask for him to visit, he won’t know you would like one.

Other methods of contact:

eMail: fr.simon@rundell.org.uk
Twitter: @frsimon

Carrier Pigeon and smoke signals also gratefully receieved

Post Address

The Vicarage,
33 Leat Walk
Roborough
Plymouth PL6 7AT

 

Parish

NEW! Roborough Team Ministry App for Android FREE!

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I have been working on a standalone app for your Android device which easily handles access to the website, the diary and (if you have the appropriate permissions) the Parish Database. It’s free, and I hope you like it.

I’m sorry there isn’t a version for Apple, but they require a stupid amount of money to develop for them, and a Mac. Which I haven’t. Buy an Android device.

You can download it from here

Parish

Quiet Day Lent 2017

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QuietDay 08042017

We are holding a quiet day on Saturday 8th April (the day before Palm Sunday) from 10am to 4pm at the Violet Evelyn Hall  Buckfast Abbey TQ11 0EE

This quiet day is open to all and costs just £5. There is a separate dining area for us, so bring your own lunch. As numbers become clear, we can arrange car-shares etc.

The day will include a couple of talks/reflections, opportunities for quiet prayer in and around the beautiful grounds, a series of creative rituals for Holy Week, culminating in a creative Eucharist


All are welcome – from all parishes, traditions and backgrounds


To express your interest/book a place

Payment can be made via Paypal from here if you wish (a small booking fee applies to cover the costs)

I intend to pay by
Paypal (most preferred)Cash - before the day (to Fr Simon)Cash - on the day

Payment can be made via Paypal from here if you wish (a small booking fee applies to cover the costs)

Parish

Morning Prayer in Lent

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[gview file=”http://www.roborough.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MP-Sunday-in-Lent.pdf”]

Please respond with the words in bold

Preparation

A bell is rung

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Hear our voice, O Lord,
according to your faithful love,
according to your judgement give us life.

The officiant welcomes the congregation, after which a hymn may be sung

Penitential Rite

‘The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart he will not despise. Our sin is always before us: we acknowledge our transgressions in penitence and faith.

God of mercy, we acknowledge that we are all sinners. We turn from the wrong that we have thought and said and done, and are mindful of all that we have failed to do. For the sake of Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us for all that is past, and help us to live each day in the light of Christ our Lord. Amen

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A Song of Penitence

Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; •
according to the abundance of your compassion
blot out my offences.

Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness •
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my faults •
and my sin is ever before me.

Against you only have I sinned •
and done what is evil in your sight,

So that you are justified in your sentence •
and righteous in your judgement.

Cast me not away from your presence •
and take not your holy spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of your salvation •
and sustain me with your gracious spirit;

Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked •
and sinners shall return to you.

Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
the God of my salvation, •
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.

from Psalm 51.1-5, 12-15

A hymn may be sung

Psalms

The appointed psalmody is said from the Psalms sheet: the officiant says the off verses and the congregation respond together with the even verses, said slowly and with a small pause at the end of each line.

Each psalm ends with

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Canticle

Ending with

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Either of the first or second readings may be used. The Gospel appointed for the Day is always read. At the end of each reading

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The reader then leads with this responsory

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
O my God, in you I trust.

You are the God of my salvation,
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

In you I hope all the day long.
O my God, in you I trust.

Remember, Lord, your compassion and love,
for they are from everlasting.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
O my God, in you I trust.

from Psalm 25

Gospel Canticle: The Benedictus (Luke 1: 68-79)

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy people,
those who were his prophets from of old.

A saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our ancestors is fulfilled
and his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear, and saved
from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.

As for you little child, you shall be called
a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him,

To make known to his people their salvation
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Sermon, Meditation or Reflection

This may be given by a member of the congregation, printed & shared or a recording/video may be played.

Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

A hymn may be sung

Prayers

The response to the intercessions may be:

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Or

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

This prayer for the departed may be used:

… Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord
And let light perpetual shine upon them

May they rest in peace
And rise in glory

The Hail Mary may also be used:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death

Collect of the Day

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; t
hy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.
Amen.

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God

A hymn may be sung. Please stay for refreshments after the Service.

Parish

Morning Prayer for Eastertide

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[gview file=”http://www.roborough.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MP-Sunday-in-Eastertide.pdf”]

Please respond with the words in bold

Preparation

A bell is rung

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

In your resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Alleluia!

The officiant welcomes the congregation, after which a hymn may be sung

Penitential Rite

In baptism we died with Christ, so that as Christ was raised from the dead, we might walk in newness of life. Let us receive new life in him as we confess our sins in penitence and faith
cf Romans 6:4
Father,
we have sinned against heaven and against you.
We are not worthy to be called your children.
We turn to you again.
Have mercy on us, bring us back to yourself
as those who once were dead
but now have life through Christ our Lord. Amen

May the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Christ has been raised from the dead:
the first fruits of those who sleep.

For as by man came death:
by man has come also the resurrection of the dead;

for as in Adam all die:
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The night has passed, & the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.
Amen.

A hymn may be sung

Psalms

The appointed psalmody is said from the Psalms sheet: the officiant says the odd verses and the congregation respond together with the even verses, said slowly and with a small pause at the end of each line.

Each psalm ends with

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Canticle

Ending with

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Either of the first or second readings may be used. The Gospel appointed for the Day is always read. At the end of each reading

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The reader then leads with this responsory

Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your sting?

Christ is risen from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Death is swallowed up in victory.

The trumpet will sound
and the dead shall be raised.
Where, O death, is your sting?

We shall not all sleep,
but we shall be changed.
Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your sting?

cf 1 Corinthians 15

Gospel Canticle: The Benedictus (Luke 1: 68-79)

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy people,
those who were his prophets from of old.

A saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our ancestors is fulfilled
and his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear, and saved
from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.

As for you little child, you shall be called
a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him,

To make known to his people their salvation
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Sermon, Meditation or Reflection

This may be given by a member of the congregation, printed & shared or a recording/video may be played.

Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

A hymn may be sung

Prayers

The response to the intercessions may be:

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Or
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

This prayer for the departed may be used:

… Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord
And let light perpetual shine upon them

May they rest in peace
And rise in glory

The Hail Mary may also be used:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death

Collect of the Day

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.
Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God Alleluia! Alleluia!

A hymn may be sung. Please stay for refreshments after the Service.

Parish

Isaiah 1:16-18

Posted on

Universalis - 7 Mar 2015 - fr.simonrundell@gmail.com - Gmail

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.

 

Come now, let us talk this over, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Parish

Moorland Gardens Hotel Wedding Fayre

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Clair and I did a Wedding Fayre at the Moorland Gardens Hotel today. It was especially good because Clair was able to speak to people from her personal experience of a Wedding in Church. She even very good naturedly put up with my frequently repeated jokes about her Pregnancy. It was great to spend some time with her as well. A number of people talked about weddings and I think we should all in the Church make more of an effort to do these kinds of things, although Dartmoor Zoo wouldn’t let me come because “it was a clash of interest” because they wanted people to get married in the Zoo rather than in Church and come to the Zoo after. Boo to them, but a big Hurrah to the Moorland Garden Hotel, which is lovely.

This was the slideshow (complete with the well received Wedding Disasters video at 6min 15sec)

2015-03-01 14.46.12
2015-03-01 08.21.43
Slide1
Slide2
Slide3
Slide4

Parish

Weddings… of all kinds

Posted on

What do we think about marriage? Is it a good thing to be encouraged, or is it past its use-by date? Is it something we hope for ourselves when we meet the right person but would rather bar the participation of others? Is it something you’ve already tried but would not recommend to anyone else?

Sometimes the mistake is made by making reference to “Christian Marriage”, as though there is a single unchanging definition of marriage within the various parts of the Church – which, of course, there isn’t. Indeed, I am as unqualified to discuss marriage in the Roman Catholic Church or the Methodist Church as I am to discuss marriage within Islam, Judaism, or Hinduism. Over many years, however, the Church of England has been discussing and revising what marriage means. Its starting point is a fairly simple definition set out in its Canons (or rules): “. . . marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side. . .” (Canon B 30 Section 1). The Church of England has since 1930 accepted that marriage is not primarily about procreation, and has thus permitted artificial means of contraception where there is “morally sound reasoning for avoiding abstinence”.

Teaching KS1 (Infant) children about marriage. We think marriage is so good that we would love to celebrate it with bears of any kind.
Teaching KS1 (Infant) children about marriage. We think marriage is so good that we would love to celebrate it with bears of any kind.

From 1837 it has been possible to get married in a Civil Ceremony, although until 1857 a marriage in England and Wales could only be dissolved by either the grant of an annulment from a Church of England Court or by a divorce resulting from a private Act of Parliament. The Church of England continued to insist on the total indissolubility of marriage – and expected its clergy to refuse every request for marriage from somebody who was divorced and whose former spouse was still living – until 2002, when it conceded that “in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse”.
Perhaps at this point the CofE might have thought everything had been settled; but no. In 1971 an Act of Parliament had been passed explicitly banning marriages between same-sex couples in England and Wales, but in 2004 the Civil Partnership Act had been introduced essentially allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights and responsibilities as married couples, whilst making it very clear that marriage was still not possible. At this stage the CofE’s bishops in the House of Lords fought hammer and tongs to block Civil Partnerships, as they did when same-sex Civil Marriages were being discussed last year.

Once again, therefore, we find ourselves in a situation where the CofE’s definition of marriage differs from that allowed by law in England, Wales, and Scotland. Moreover, this has brought into focus a very painful division within the Church of England over the issue of same-sex relationships. On one side there is a view that marriage is an institution biblically defined as being only between a man and a woman, and that same-sex relationships are inherently sinful and against nature. Through study of what the Bible actually does says about intimate human relationships I find myself persuaded to join the opposite side of the argument, and I don’t consider that the oft-quoted biblical texts have anything whatsoever to do with the condemnation of loving and consensual same-sex relationships.

Therefore, at the peak of the “wedding season” I find myself sharing in the joy of all those who are able to have their marriages solemnised within the Roborough Team Ministry’s churches, whilst knowing that there are some whom I must still turn away. Until that time when (or if) the CofE changes its rules once again, what I can do is to continue to offer any couple married in a Civil Ceremony a “Service of Prayer and Dedication”. Some may see this as nothing more than a “sop” or “one step too far”, but thankfully it’s a personal decision that only I can make. Nevertheless, I continue to hope and pray for change and I personally pray that someday soon I will be permitted to celebrate the wonderful sacrament of marriage with all couples.

(adapted from a text by Graham Southgate with permission)