News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

UK News

United Reformed Church dubs Christians Together in England's response to gay president 'unfair'

Churches Together in England (CTE) is a membership of 49 churches, created to promote unity across the Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Anglican and Reformed churches.

Hannah Brock Womack, who is in a same sex marriage was nominated for the fourth presidency position by a group of Reformed churches and the Quakers.

Upon her appointment, the CTE requested Womack "not exercise" her role "for the sake of our ecumenical unity".

The URC's secretary for ecumenical and interfaith relations, Rev Philip Brooks has been explaining his disappointment to Premier.

"We would never turn anybody away in an office who was in a same sex marriage. We think it's unfair that Hannah hasn't been able to take up her position," he said.

"We pray for the Church to genuinely come together, to find the grace and understanding to find a more just solution to what has been a very difficult situation."

URC acknowledges that its own denomination does not have a "single view" on same sex marriage and the Church as a whole is divided on the issue but said CTE has a responsibility to model unity and inclusivity.

Brooks said: "Even in the time where we were deliberating as to whether to allow our local churches to register for same sex marriage, we have always made sure that those people who are in same sex marriages are able to serve in offices in the church.

"Though we may discern the Bible very differently, CTE has been a very good way for churches to associate with one another and to learn from one another as the body of Christ."

Quakers in Britain decided to remain in the CTE, despite being "disappointed" by the "rejection" of Womack.

Womack remains the fourth President but will not be able to take her place alongside the other CTE presidents when they gather, with the fourth chair left empty as a symbol of the progress still to be made.

URC have commended Quakers in Britain "for their restraint" and for "continuing the pilgrimage together."

A statement on their website reads: "We offer our prayers for this situation and in particular for Hannah and her wife. The 'empty chair' of the Fourth Presidency demonstrates that the dialogue must continue until a more just outcome can be reached.

"The United Reformed Church is committed to work with its ecumenical partners within CTE to agree a process by which this can be quickly achieved."

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.