Time for LGBTI clergy to join a union

Following the publication of the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance bishops are beginning to ask to meet lesbian and gay clergy in their dioceses. The circumstances vary. One bishop has asked clergy known to be in a civil partnership to a meeting. Others have asked to meet clergy who had informed the bishop of their intention to marry. It is not yet clear what the intention of the bishops is. They may want to express support or they may want to warn and discipline.

Changing Attitude recommends that clergy who are not yet members of a union to consider joining now.
The Revd Dean Henley, Equalities Officer of UNITE Faithworkers’ Branch recommends that all those summoned to meetings with their diocesan bishops about their gay marriage plans or for any other reason do not go alone. Always insist on taking a friend or a Union Rep if you are a member.

To join UNITE click here. You need to quote ‘Faithworkers’ in your application in order to be allocated to the branch. New members are entitled to help from the Faithworkers branch straight away in terms of Rep support, but the official position is that new members are not entitled to legal support for 6 months. This requirement can be waived if a test case has a benefit to the whole membership. Church of England members are automatically then members of CECA – Church of England Clergy Advocates who provide specific advice to CofE members and negotiate with the CofE at a national level.

Dean Henley can help with paper applications and any queries: deanhenley@waitrose.com, phone 01234 381235


  1. says

    It’s a sad day when Office Holders need the protection of a trade union. My spouse is a member, has been for many years, and despite their militancy, they also do a pretty good job in terms of welfare and protection of employees in disputes etc.

    If Bishops are being pastoral, that’s probably acceptable, but if they plan to grill Clergy about the intimate details of their relationships, that prurient and even voyeurism 🙁

    My question would be, when are Bishops going to call all married Clergy to meet them about the state of their marriages or relationships and, will they be questioned about their sex lives? Or is it generally accepted that the missionary position is the only acceptable one?

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