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New Room Bristol
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New Room Bristol
World News

John Wesley's first Methodist chapel to allow same-sex marriage

by Kelly Valencia

The Christian LGBTQ community is celebrating after the world's oldest Methodist building announced it will be officiating same-sex marriages. 

The New Room in Bristol was the first chapel set up by evangelist and founder of Methodism, John Wesley. 

In a Facebook post, the church said: "We are delighted to announce that John Wesley's New Room is now available to host, officiate, and celebrate same-sex weddings!

"John Wesley believed in sharing God's Love with everybody and we hope that this step brings Wesley's message of inclusivity into this century."

Its decision comes after the Methodist Church voted last year to allow same-sex marriage - although local congregations and ministers can decide whether they want to register their building and themselves as an authorised registrar.

Rev Mandy Briggs from New Room described the decision as a "natural step." 

"The chapel has been a venue for services organised by Christians at Bristol Pride since 2018 and so this registration feels like the natural next step."

She also said the move was "the latest step in our journey of allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community." 

But Rev Gareth Higgs, vice-chair of Methodist Evangelicals Together told Premier Christian News he is saddened by the decision:

"I do think that in the places of such significance for our movement…we don't know what John Wesley would think if he was alive today, but we do know what he thought when he was alive and he affirmed the only pattern of marriage that we find in Scripture, which is that marriage is between one man and one woman… and so to suggest that we don't know what he thought, is wrong. 

"I agree that it's complete conjecture, to think if he was around today, what he would think, but we do know historically what he thought and of course, that used to be part of our doctrinal base that the teaching of John Wesley just appears that we're able to be selective when we want to be on certain issues in the Methodist church today," Rev Higgs continued. 

The Methodist Church is the second largest denomination in the UK to allow same-sex weddings. 

Same-sex couples who are already married can also have a service of blessing at the church. 

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