Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 13:04 UK

Gay blessing vicar is reprimanded

St Hywyn, Aberdaron
The blessing took part at St Hywyn's in Aberdaron.

A vicar in Gwynedd has been reprimanded by the Archbishop of Wales for blessing a gay civil partnership between two women.

The service was conducted by the Reverend Jim Cotter at St Hywyn's Church in Aberdaron, with the approval of the local church council.

A complaint was made to the Archbishop who wrote to the Rev Cotter telling him he had exceeded his authority.

The Church in Wales said it had "no liturgy" for same-sex unions.

The vicar said he had been given approval by the local church council to carry out the ceremony in July, and he was not aware of any opposition locally.

He said around a dozen friends of the couple attended, along with three members of the church council.

'Grey area'

The couple involved are understood to have a house on the Lleyn peninsula, but live in Yorkshire.

"There wasn't any fuss. It was a day of great delight and healing," said Mr Cotter.

The Church in Wales regards marriage as the lifelong union between a man and a woman and this is what is conveyed in its liturgy and recognised in law
Church statement

He added that the question of blessing gay civil partnerships in church was a "grey area".

He said the Bishop of Bangor was ill at the time, and he did not want to bother him with the matter.

Referring to the subsequent complaint he said: "There was a bit of a to-do about it.

"It's the kind of thing that's a bit unusual and a bit controversial."

He added that he "took note" of the Archbishop's comments.

In a statement, the Church in Wales said it did not and had not authorised public services to bless same-sex unions and had no liturgy for them as a result.

It continued: " The service which took place at St Hywyn's Aberdaron on July 12 should not have taken place and the Archbishop is dealing with the matter.

"The Church in Wales regards marriage as the lifelong union between a man and a woman and this is what is conveyed in its liturgy and recognised in law.

"The Church in Wales does, however, affirm the value of committed friendships between people of the same sex and clergy are encouraged to minister sensitively and pastorally to gay and lesbian people."

Should Church bless same sex unions?
27 Jul 05 |  Have Your Say

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