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No gay marriage at St Paul’s Cathedral: The Church of England Newspaper, March 23, 2012, p 7. March 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
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The Dean of St Pauls, David Ison, and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres

Dr. David Ison has backed away from a pledge to conduct same-sex blessings at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Speaking to the Times following the announcement of his appointment on 6 March 2012, Dr. Ison, the present Dean of Bradford Cathedral, endorsed the concept of gay marriage. “Marriage doesn’t belong to the Church,” he said.

The new dean said he was encouraged that gay people sought the church’s blessing for their partnerships. “As a Christian who is committed to marriage, I would say that for people to take on board, in their relationships, a commitment to lifelong chastity and being together is actually the best pattern for how to flourish if you’re going to be in a relationship… whether you’re gay or straight.

“I’m encouraged that a good number of gay people want to take on the virtues of marriage. For Christian gay people to model that kind of faithfulness, in a culture which, historically, has often been about promiscuity, is a very good thing to do,” he said.

According to the Times, Dr. Ison said he would continue to provide ceremonies to affirm and pray for homosexual couples. “The Bishops’ regulations say you can do things which are pastorally appropriate… Marriage is an institution, but the definitions of that, and how you get into it, and quite what its responsibilities are, have changed over time,” he said.

However, in an interview with the BBC’s Sunday Programme broadcast on 11 March 2012, Dr. Ison stepped back from his earlier remarks about gay blessings at St Paul’s. Asked by interviewer Edward Stourton about his views on the issues surrounding marriage, the dean said that “marriage is something which we have inherited as an institution and its meaning is defined by custom, practice, theology and law.”

“The government is trying to take a bit of a short cut in saying we just have marriage and open it to same sex couples too,” he said, adding that the Church of England was looking at the question of “how we related the church’s teaching and the doctrine of marriage to the need to be able to order, to express and to affirm gay partnerships … we need to make the virtues of marriage available to gay couples,” Dr. Ison said.

Asked if he would be “happy to conduct a gay marriage at St Pauls?” the dean responded that “there isn’t such a thing as gay marriage.”

“What I have done, once, is to pray for a couple who wanted to see Jesus Christ at the centre of their civil partnership. And I would be glad to do that with the bishop’s permission and within the framework of the guidance of the Church of England,” Dr. Ison said.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.


1. Steve Nite - March 28, 2012

He is putting the Bishop above the Bible. Not willing to study the Bible for himself and come to conclusions based on his OWN study. He is a man who will when it is necessary, to refuse to answer the call of God, the call of the Holy Spirit over the Traditions of Men. He will be willing as his predacesors of old, to Crucify Christ again if Tradition and his spiritual leaders tell him to. His parishoners are a herd of lost sheep without a shepherd and do not know it. No wonder the Church has no relavance in this day and age, and people do not want to know a God like that.

2. MichaelA - April 5, 2012

On that basis no-one would ever have to obey their bishop in anything, and total anarchy would be the result. Dean Ison quite properly accepts that he is under his bishop’s authority in regard to what he does in his capacity as Dean.

Of course if his bishop ever commanded him to do something contrary to the Bible he would be entitled to refuse. But nowhere does the Bible command: “Thou shalt celebrate gay marriage”, so that is not an issue!

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