Gay vicar Foreshew-Cain quits and attacks ‘institutional homophobia’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 May, 2017, 8:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 01 May, 2017, 10:39pm

The first Church of England vicar in a same-sex marriage is leaving his parish and claims “institutional homophobia” in the church means he is blacklisted from getting another job.

Andrew Foreshew-Cain, 53, a member of the General Synod, resigned from his London parish on Sunday, telling parishioners it was a “relief” because his ministry, and that of other gay and lesbian clergy, was “barely tolerated rather than fully accepted and ­celebrated”.

The vicar of St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn, and St James in West Hampstead is moving to Manchester where his husband, Stephen, whom he married in 2015, is now working.

“In the normal course of things I would look for a job in the area,” he said. “But I am on a blacklist. I can’t carry on being a priest ­because the institutional homophobia of the church makes it impossible.

“I am sure lots of parishes would give me a job quite happily, but it is finding a bishop who would be willing to take the risk of licensing me to that parish. I am far too prominent.”

I am on a blacklist. I can’t carry on being a priest ­because the institutional homophobia of the church makes it impossible.
Andrew Foreshew-Cain

The Church of England bans clergy from gay marriage, but it has been tolerant of him in his current post.

Foreshew-Cain said that the church’s stance was not only harmful to LGBT people but also “profoundly damaging” to the Christian community.

In a letter to parishioners, he explained: “When we married I was told that if I left here then an active ministry officially in the Church of England would be over, and that is likely to be the case.”

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He said the current leadership, “whilst willing to allow me to continue here, is unwilling to license me to a ministry elsewhere”.

He is now looking forward to renovating the couple’s new home, which is, “with delicious irony”, he said, an old vicarage.

A spokesperson for the diocese of London said: “Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain is currently a member of the clergy in the diocese of ­London. We understand that he has plans to move to Manchester for personal reasons but the diocese has not received his resignation at this time.”