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A Church of England college has apologised for holding a service for LGBT history month

Meka Beresford February 3, 2017

A leading Church of England theological college has apologised for hosting a service that marked the start of LGBT history month.

The college, which trains priests for the C of E, held the service which was advertised as a “Polari evening prayer in anticipation of LGBT+ history month”.

The event, which took place at Westcott House in Cambridge on Tuesday, was described as “an attempt at queering the liturgy of evening prayer, locating the queer within the compass of faith, and recovering for the Christian tradition a sense of its own intrinsically subversive jouisance,” according to a printed explanation.

Prayer’s said at the event referred to God as “the Duchess”, with one particular prayer referring to the “Fantabulosa fairy” and ended “Praise ye the Duchess. The Duchess’s name be praised.”

The organisers reportedly said that just as Jesus welcomed the outcast, “today we might follow in the footsteps of his daring, boldly and outrageously welcoming the Queer (both human and divine) in a way never before attempted”.

Psalm 19 was also reworded to refer to “O Duchess, my butchness”.

Rev Canon Chris Chivers, the principal at the college, called the service “hugely regrettable”.

“I fully recognise that the contents of the service are at variance with the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England and that is hugely regrettable,” Chivers said. It used “a form of liturgy which was not an authorised act of worship in line with the college’s procedures.”

The service allegedly caused some members to be “considerably upset and disquiet”, and the college have promised to ensure that organisers would be “tightening the internal mechanisms of the house to ensure this never happens again”.

The college hoped “to make a creative contribution to setting a different tone for the debate on human sexuality in the church. But this was not it,” Chivers explained.

More: Church of England, LGBT, Religion

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