Signatories on the letter to The Times and clergy proctors of London Diocese

Letter to all clergy proctors for London Diocese

Dear Philippa, Christopher, Clare, Jane, Stephen, David, Philip, Charles, Alan and Rachel,

Please forgive us for writing in this format, but we trust this finds you well.

We are deeply concerned that the voice of many clergy in the Diocese of London may not necessarily be heard in General Synod over the issue of Civil Partnerships on Religious Premises.

As you may know, the secular legislation to allow such civil partnerships to occur, where churches and other faith groups have indicated that they wish to opt in to the arrangements, has now been approved.

We would ask you, as our proctors at General Synod, to hear that there is a growing number of clergy in this diocese who feel that it is a matter for the conscience of individual incumbents/priests in charge to take a view on whether to conduct such ceremonies and to represent that view in Synod. We plead the case for a permissive stance, perhaps akin to the marriage of divorcees, rather than an obligatory rejection and blanket ban.

In order better to assist you to do this, please find attached a letter that has been signed by over 120 members of the clergy from across the Diocese of London in support of this view.

We look forward, with interest, to your response and respectfully request that you represent these views in General Synod.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Preb. Dr. Brian Leathard and Rev. Dr. Jack Dunn

St. Luke’s with Christ Church, Chelsea, London, SW3

Letter to The Times

We, the undersigned, believe that on the issue of holding civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England churches incumbents / priests in charge should be accorded the same rights as they enjoy at present in the matter of officiating at the marriage of divorced couples in church. Namely, that this should be a matter for the individual conscience of the incumbent / priest in charge.

We would respectfully request that our views in this regard are fully represented in Synod.

Rev. Preb. Brian Leathard, Rev. Dr. Jack Dunn

St. Luke’s with Christ Church, Chelsea, London, SW3

The Rt. Rev. Edward Holland

Hon. Assistant Bishop in London and Europe

The Rev. Canon Mark Oakley

Canon Treasurer, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4

The Rev. Canon. Dr. Giles Fraser

Former Canon Chancellor, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4

Rev. Lucy Winkett, Rev. Lindsay Meader, Rev. Hugh Valentine

St. James’s, Piccadilly, London, W1

Rev. Canon. Joe Hawes

All Saints, Fulham, SW6

Rev. Gillean Craig

St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, W8

Rev. Ginny Thomas

St. Mary with St. Peter and St. Jude, West Brompton, SW10

Rev. Stephen Dando, Rev. Elaine Dando

St. Lawrence Church, Eastcote, Pinner, London, HA5

Rev. Preb. Ron Swan

PTO Diocese of London

Rev. Canon. John Record

St. Peter, Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, London, W6

Rev. Alistair McCulloch

Chaplain, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, SW3

Rev. Dr. Julie Gittoes

All Saints’ Church, Hampton, London, TW12

Rev. Robert Thompson

The Lead Chaplain: The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, SW3

Rev. Dr. Martin Dudley

St. Bartholomew The Great, Smithfield, London, EC1

Rev. Laura Burgess

St. Botolph, Aldgate, London, E3N

Rev. Stephen Mason, Rev. Dr. Brutus Green, Rev. Margaret Legg

St. John The Evangelist with St. Michael and All Angels, Hyde Park Crescent , London, W2

Rev. Craig Barber

Anglican Chaplain, London Metropolitan University, London, EC 

Rev. Monica Stewart, Rev. Imogen Vibert

St. Thomas, Stamford Hill, London, N16

Rev. David Peebles

St George Bloomsbury, London, WC1

Rev. Andrew Cain, Rev. Christine Cargill

St. James, West Hampstead and St. Mary with All Souls, London, NW6

Rev. Dr. Christina Beardsley

Head of Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation, London, SW10

Rev. Dave Tomlinson

St. Luke, West Holloway, London, N7

Rev. Kevin Morris, Rev. Graham Morgan Kt., Rev. Stephen Stavrou

St. Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, W4

Father Michael Moorhead

All Souls, Harlesden, London, NW10

Rev. Chris Swift

St. Mary Magdalene, Littleton and St. Nicholas, Shepperton, London, TW17

Rev. Jenny Welsh

St. Pancras Parish Church, London, NW1 and Chaplain to University College London

Rev. Hannah Reynolds

All Saints, Hanworth, London, TW13

Rev. Bruce Bridgewood

St. Peter-Le-Poer, Friern Barnet, London, N10

Rev. Nigel Orchard

Christ The Redeemer, Southall, London, UB1

Rev. Stephen Flatt

Head of Spiritual and Pastoral Care Services, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, W2

Rev. Stephen Coles

St. Thomas The Apostle, Finsbury Park, London, N4

Rev. David Wheeler, Rev. Paulette Mullings

St. Saviour, Wendell Park, London, W12

Rev. Will Baynes

St James the Less, Sussex Gardens, Paddington, W2 and PTO Diocese of London

Rev. Dr. Edward Norman

St. James Garlickhythe, London, EC4

Rev. Gerald Beauchamp

St. Cyprian, St. Marylebone, London, NW1 and The Annunciation, Bryanston Street, St. Marylebone, London, W1

Rev. Jeff Hopkin Williams

St. Mary The Virgin, Twickenham, London, TW1

Rev. Nicola Stanley. Rev. Andrew Williams

All Hallows, Twickenham, London, TW1

Rev. Jenny Petersen

Anglican Chaplain, St. Benet’s Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Queen Mary, University of London

Rev. Rachel Hawes

St. John, Notting Hill, London, W11

Rev. Paul Nicholson, Rev. Mark Speeks

St. Peter, Belsize Park and St. Saviour, South Hampstead, London, NW3

Rev. David Matthews

Holy Innocents with St. John, Hammersmith, London, W6

Rev. David Allen

St. Clement, Kings Square, London, EC1 and chaplain to Moorfields Eye Hospital and City University, London, EC1

Rev. Michael Fuller

The United Benefice of Holland Park, London, W8

Rev. Simon Grigg

St. Paul, Covent Garden,  London, WC2 and chaplain to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, WC2

Rev. Philip Warner

St. Magnus The Martyr with St. Margaret New Fish Street and St Michael Crooked Lane, London, EC3

Rev. John Hawkins

St. John, West Hendon, London, NW4 and St. Matthias, Colindale, London, NW9

Rev. John Willmington, Rev. Brandy Pearson, Rev. Robert Pearson

Parish of Acton Green, London, W4

Rev. Bertrand Olivier

All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London, EC3

Rev. Ben Humphries

St. Stephen and St. Thomas, Shepherd’s Bush with St. Michael and St. George, White City Estate, London, W12

Rev. Margaret Evans

St. Stephen, Canonbury, London, N1

Rev. Simon Brandes

St. Nicholas with St. Mary Magdalene, Chiswick, London, W4

Rev. Jonathan Kester, Rev. Alysoun Whitton, Rev. Annette Fritze-Shanks

Emmanuel, West Hampstead, London, NW6

Rev. Graham Buckle, Rev. Debbie Hart

St. Paul, St. Marylebone, London, NW1

Rev. Canon. Chris Chivers

John Keble Church, Mill Hill, London, NW7

Rev. Martin McGonigle

St. Andrew, Southgate, London, N14

Rev. Christopher Cawrse

Holy Cross with St. Jude and St. Peter, St. Pancras, London, WC1

The Rev. Dr. Nicholas Henderson

St Martin’s, West Acton, London W3 & All Saints, Ealing, London W5

Rev. Justin Gau

St. John of Jerusalem with Christ Church, South Hackney, London, E9

Rev. Dominic Fenton

Chaplain, North Middlesex Hospital, London, N18

Rev. Julia Porter-Pryce, Rev. Fraser Dyer

St. Peter, De Beauvoir Town, London, N1

Rev. Andrew Norwood

Chaplain, University of the Arts, London, WC1 and PTO Diocese of London

Rev. Melanie Toogood

St. George and All Saints, Tufnell Park, London, N7

Rev. Stephen Williams

Senior University Chaplain, Diocese of London

Rev Sr Helen Loder SSM

Leader, Sisters of the Society of St. Margaret, St. Saviour’s Priory, London, E2 and PTO, Stepney Area

Rev. Nigel Asbridge

St. Mary with St. John, Edmonton, London, N18

Rev. Dr. John Seymour

Chaplain, Twyford High School, London, W3

Rev Brian Ralph

St. Barnabas, Bethnal Green, London, E3

Rev. Evan. H. Jones

PTO, Stepney Area, London

Rev. Dr. Alan McCormack

St. Botolph Without Bishopsgate and St. Vedast alias Foster, London, EC2

Rev. Reuben Preston

St. Mary of Eton with St. Augustine, Hackney Wick, London, E9

Rev. Dr. Thaddeus Birchard

PTO Charing Cross, Archdeaconry, London

Rev. Edd Turner

St. Aldhelm, Edmonton, N18

Rev. Mark Osborne

St. John with St. James, Walham Green, Fulham, London, SW6

Rev. Peter Bernhard

PTO Stepney Episcopal Area, London

Rev. Stephen Tucker, Rev. Emma Smith

St. John, Hampstead, London, NW3

Rev. Preb. Tony Kyriakides-Yeldham

Palliative Care Chaplain, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, W2

Joe Moffatt, Rev. Mary Hawes

St. Mary with St. Alban, Teddington, London, TW11

Rev. Preb. Alan Green

St. John on Bethnal Green, London, E2

Rev. Dr. Malcolm Johnson

PTO London Diocese

Rev. Canon Garth Hewitt, Rev. Malcolm Doney, Rev. Chris Rose

All Hallows, London Wall, London, EC2

Rev. Andrew Willson

Chaplain, Imperial College, London, SW7

Rev. Patrick Tuft

Prebendary Emeritus of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4

Rev. George Pitcher

St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, London, EC4

Rev. Cindy Kent

St. John The Apostle, Whetstone, London, N20

Rev. Niall Weir

St. Paul, West Hackney, London, N16

Rev. Gary Bradley

Little Venice, London, W2

Rev. Canon Michael Ainsworth

St. George-in-the East with St. Paul, Cannon Street, London, E1

Rev. Preb. Adrian Benjamin

All Saints, Friern Barnet, London, N20

Rev. Preb. Alan Wynne, Rev. Jane Hodges

Poplar Team Ministry, London, E14

Rev. Bill Wilson

PTO Diocese of London

Rev. David Tuck

St. Alban, North Harrow, London, HA2

Rev. Robert Mitchell

Ld Chaplain, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London, NW3

Rev. Rosamond McDowell

St. Mary –Le-Bow, Cheapside, London, EC2

Rev. Graeme Watson

PTO Diocese of London

Rev. Preb. Michael Shrewsbury

Prebendary Emeritus of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4

Rev. Philippa Turner

Chaplain, Royal Veterinary College, London, NW1 and UCL Medical London, London, WC1

Rev. Philip Davison

St. Mary, Finchley, London, N3


  1. Robert Ellis says

    Great!! Why don’t we try and do this nationally and address it to the General Synod….that would test the temperature of the Church of England. Is it something that Changing Attitude could host?

  2. says

    I’m delighted to see so many people signing this letter.

    What I’m not delighted to see is the Bishop of London’s response

    It seems to say very clearly that ministry amongst those who are gay is less important than other forms of ministry. It also suggests that such ministry forms no part of the core ministry of the church.

    It is a terribly inadequate response and should be challenged publicly.

    • Richard Ashby says

      Why is ‘unity’ more important that what is right? This is also the flaw at the heart of the Covenant and a recipe for doing nothing

    • Paul Webb says

      Don’t deal with slavery/apartheid/any other institutional evil. There are much more important issues like whether some clergy are using the Roman rite….

  3. Elizabeth says

    Some familiar names ~ excellent ~ at last some in the church recognise that people want to bring their relationships before God, in their own places of worship ~ not be forced to hide or lie ~ calling to celibacy is rare ~ to say “ignore your attraction, be celibate” while everyone else can enjoy marriage is just so hypocritical and I do not beleive it is God’s will that such a significant number of Christians must continue is this ridiculous position. THANHK YOU ~ THANK YOU

    How many more will have the courage to stand up and be counted ?

  4. Laurence Roberts says

    Great !” How moving.

    Be great if there was a ‘national letter’ or something we could all now join in signing -and build on this.

    Over a quarter of London ministers is impressive !

  5. says

    as i understand it some 1.1 people attend c of e worship weekly

    and there are some 19000 ordained clergy – so say 1.7% of the 1.1 million

    and the rev’s supporting this statement are 123 – so say 0.01% of the 1.1 million

    assuming the 19000 and 123 attend worship weekly

    anybody got any ideas how to find out what the 1,082,00 000 (98%) who are non-ordained and worship weekly think on this subject?

    just saying …..

  6. Jeremy Moodey says

    But where is church discipline in all this? Is the Anglican Church now reduced to being an anarchic club with an ‘anything goes’ approach to pastoral matters? As long as the vicar acts in accordance with his or her “individual conscience”, he or she can do exactly what he or she wants? +Chartres is quite right to want to stop all this nonsense.

    But I’ll wager that within 5 years EU equalities legislation, combined with a strong and intolerant LGBT lobby seeking to promote their human ‘rights’, will have engineered a situation where no church (whatever the incumbent’s “individual conscience”) can actually REFUSE to allow a civil partnership ceremony in church. It happened with same-sex adoptions, it will happen with civil partnerships. This is the thin end of the wedge.

    • Jeremy Pemberton says


      clergy already can choose whether or not to (re-)marry people who have been divorced. Indeed the legislation was devised so that the individual pastoral conscience of the clergy was operative in any given case. Diocesan procedures might include submitting a report of the process and the views of the particular clergyperson at the end of the interviews with the couple and so forth, but most bishops just say “thank you for letting me know what you think, you are the wo/man on the ground, go ahead according to your conscience with my blessing”.

      So asking for the ability to do this with same gender couples and their partnerships is asking for something on an already existing basis and is not the thin end of anything at all. It is just. It is good. And heaven knows, it is overdue!

      • Jeremy Pemberton says

        And no one is OBLIGED to marry someone who has previously been married: you can simply decline to do so and refuse to allow your church for the wedding. There has been no slew of cases requiring people to act against their conscience – so that is a bit of scaremongering that should be dropped as well.

  7. Henry says

    My local vicar (who also happens to be gay) wasn’t even asked to sign the letter. Another two friends who are curates would have been willing to sign but again not asked…

    The issue enjoys far more support than the 123 signatures!

    • Changing Attitude says

      Is your vicar in London Diocese (as opposed to say, Southwark). There are undoubtedly many more who would sign – something which I’m sure many are thinking about this morning, and is very much on our mind too.

      • Paul Webb says

        I’m in Guildford Diocese but I would have signed it – think a bit bigger guys, like the Inclusive Church statement.

  8. Fr John Harris-White says

    Congratulations on those clergy in the London Diocese who have had the guts to sign the letter.We are allowed to use our discretion over divorced couples, but obviously not on our friends from our LGBT family who seek Gods Blessing.
    This letter should become a United Kingdom wide letter, and sent to all three provinces of England, Scotland and Wales.
    On Monday I celebrate my 78th Birthday, and next year 50 years as a priest. I am now retired in Scotland in a God given Civil relationship, and its time enough that the Anglican church in the British Isles accepted the genuine love between committed same sex couples, and allowed a service of Blessing in the house of God

  9. Christopher Bowman says

    Well Colin, No doubt you are flattered and encouraged by the obvious readership.. But is now not the time to simply grasp the nettle and move forward brandishing the Osborne Report etal .. One might add a comment to kelvin & many thanks for his contribution; that the Bishop of London seemed to change substantially in his stance with his St Pauls debacle. With Cantab coming up he is sufficient enough a politician to jump camp? In any event I doubt there will be too many people falling asleep in the Synod this year for long! But should not people contact their own dioc bishops in much the same way as they may write to their MP? That is of course unless you live in York!

  10. Changing Attitude says

    There are clearly many people around the country, lay and ordained, who want the opportunity to join the 120 London clergy in expressing their opinion about civil partnerships and the place of LGB&T people in the |Church of England.

    The London letter was grass-roots clergy initiated and sent to their Proctors, the people elected to represent the clergy. Changing Attitude believes this model should be replicated across the country.

    We will, today, launch a national petition for anyone to sign, building on the impetus of the London letter. I’ll blog with more details in a moment, and the petition will be launched online later today.


    • Alice Renaud says

      Great news!! I’m not clergy but regular churchgoer and active member of my church (St John the Baptist, Pinner). I fully support the signatories and hope the liberal voice will be heard loud and clear at the Synod. It’s shocking that vicars have to marry any random heterosexual couple that walk in, provided neither is divorced and one lives in the parish, but are forbidden from marrying people who have been members and pillars of their church for years, purely because they happen to be gay.

  11. David says

    I was so heartened to read the letter to the Times. I do so hope this does lead the path to change.

    But I also find the ‘liberal’ label unhelpful. Why is ‘liberal’ to want to offer a blessing on people’s heartfelt love?

  12. Mary Woodward says

    Thank God that some priests are ready to speak out!

    No-one in the LGBT community is asking ministers in the Church of England to act against their consciences: we are simply asking to be allowed to have public religious ceremonies to mark our commitment to each other.

    I would have thought that the Church would be looking to welcome people, and love them in their diversity, rather than drive them away by their current unchristian attitude.

    As a Quaker who is welcomed and affirmed in my sexuality and spirituality within the Society of Friends , I find it hard to understand the panic and hysteria engendered by what is really quite a reasonable request: that same-sex couples be accorded the same treatment as those of opposite genders.

  13. Rupert Fawdry, says

    It has now become clear that in God’s wonderful and rainbow universe every species (including humans) has some members who are not traditionally heterosexual, the sooner we all accept what God has made the better. God bless all who have found the right partner and want to declare their relationship formally before their fellow Christians. Love thy neighbour is the second commandment, not some traditional view of what is or is not a “sacrament” It is sad that ther seems to be no visible accepting official church within miles of Milton Keynes.

  14. says

    I attend St Nicholas Church in Brighton where there are lots of Gays and I have to say in all honesty that most of them are really good people who work hard for the church and are always friendly to my husband and I. And treat us with respect.
    Why should they not declare their love for each other in the sight of God who loves them as he does the rest of us.
    Many heterosexuals marry in church but end up in a divorce court many times because they were not faithful to their partners, so they are not perfect.
    The Gays will marry anyhow in a register office so let us embrace their wish to marry in church.

    Margaret Funnell.

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