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Banned CofE priest says: ‘There are so many people feeling angry on our behalf’

Banned CofE priest says: ‘There are so many people feeling angry on our behalf’

A Church of England priest who was banned from officiating in the Winchester diocese said he received a huge amount of support.

Jeremy Davies was denied permission from officiating in the Winchester diocese after applying to its bishop Tim Dakin because he is married to his partner, Simon McEnery.

‘The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union … of one man with one woman,’ Dakin wrote.

‘It would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives,’ as revealed in a recent interview with Davies from the Guardian.

Jeremy Davies is a retired precentor from Salisbury cathedral, but was asked to help out in parishes in Winchester.

‘I think [Dakin] is behind the curve,’ he said. ‘But it’s a legitimate curve to be on. The church is on the move, but it takes a long time.

‘This is very frustrating to many people, but the issue of sexuality in human relationships has been on the church’s agenda for 2,000 years.’

Voicing his support, husband McEnery wrote on Facebook: ‘We’ve had a bit of “why don’t you just leave?” and “you knew the rules.”

‘Here’s what I’ve been saying: People’s religious beliefs are often profound and deeply held, and those who feel called to ministry often feel it’s an integral part of their personality. And sometimes those people are gay.

‘Now, we usually as a society say we uphold freedom of belief. Should that freedom not be available to gay people? Or should there be no-go areas for gay people?

‘For Jeremy, the Church has been an integral part of his life for most of his life.

‘He has helped to form it; he loves it. It’s actually quite hurtful when people say, “why don’t you just leave?” or, “you knew the rules, don’t complain.”

‘The Church is also like a family, and like families everywhere, someone sometime might shout, “who did you say you were marrying? Over my dead body!”, but that’s no reason to leave.

‘You stay; you fight your corner. This is Jeremy’s family, his home. We stay: we fight our corner.’

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