• St Peters Church

An unholy row has erupted after a parish priest announced that a ceremony to mark his civil partnership is to be staged at his church.

A local parishioner has said that the service to celebrate the partnership between the Reverend Dominic McClean and his male partner at St Peter’s Church in Market Bosworth amounts to a “gay wedding”.

The Rev McClean, who is the priest in charge (team rector) of the Market Bosworth benefice and is based at St Peter’s where he serves 13 churches, has denied this.

Mr Aubrey Chalmers, of Shackerstone, near Market Bosworth, , said: “This ceremony amounts to a gay wedding and should not be being carried out at this church.

“As far as I am concerned, and there a lot of fellow parishioners in this benefice who agree with me, this flies in the face of the official policy of the Church of England who do not bless gay marriages.

“What people do in their private life is their concern but this a very symbolic service in the church where the Rev McClean is based.

“This should not be allowed to happen in this church. It is not right and parishioners are staying away from churches in the benefice because of this.”

Mr Chalmers, who is in his 80’s, has written a letter of complaint about the service on September 27 to the Bishop of Leicester, the Right Rev Tim Steven and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby.

The Rev McClean, 54, said he had been given permission for the service by the district church council for the Market Bosworth benefice in April.

He said: “It is not a blessing. It is not a gay wedding.

“We have entered into a civil partnership and it is a service of thanksgiving and commitment.

“It is quite legitimate for me to have this service at St Peter’s.

“It is in the context of a thanksgiving and to celebrate with family and friends.

“I have spoken to the Bishop of Leicester about this matter but it was private conversation and I will not reveal what he said.”

The Rev McClean said he was aware of Mr Chalmer’s feelings and his letters of complaint.

He said: “I have not spoken him but would, so to talk about the matter.”

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “It is an issue for the bishop and we will not be commenting on the matter.”

The Rev McClean became priest in charge (team rector) of the United Benefice of Market Bosworth and the Sheepy Group with Nailstone, Carlton and Shackerstone in the Sparkenhoe West (Hinckley and Bosworth) Deanery last year.

Before this appointment he was assistant curate in the Benefice of Burbage, cum Aston Flamville.

He was ordained as a priest at Leicester Cathedral in 2011.

In 2010 he was licensed as a deacon at St Aidan’s in New Parks, Leicester.

Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by parliament in July 2013 and came into force on 13 March 2014.

The Church of England has not supported this.

Clergy are banned from marrying a person of the same sex and priest are not allowed to direct same-sex marriages.

Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Unholy-row-erupts-service-civil-partnership/story-22927348-detail/story.html#f5QsJDv2o5X7dEYs.99

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