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Channel Four
UK News

Vicar criticised over involvement in marriage reality show

Revd Nick Devenish from St Mary and St Michael's in Cartmel, Cumbria was part of the five person expert panel who chose the couples who married without previously meeting.

Speaking to The Times, the Bishop of Manchester Rt Revd David Walker accused the show of "inappropriate and rather seedy behaviour".

Addressing the vicar's involvement, he said: "I do not believe it was a good idea for [Mr Devenish] to take part.

"The Church wants marriage to be successful and we don't achieve that by reducing it to a scientific experiment. I was at General Synod with 450 devout Anglicans and not one of the people I spoke to thought this was a good idea."

But Revd Devenish has defended the show. Speaking to the Church Times, he said: "I do not have any regrets. I do hope that society starts to consider the questions being asked by the hundreds of people we saw...Whether we do so consciously or unconsciously, the drive to have a perfect career, which affects how many hours people were working to keep a roof over their heads, means the energy to find someone else is not there.

Channel Four

"It was a privilege to have been in that place, seeking to address the problems that young people are facing. The Church has so much to offer about the importance of relationships, and particularly marriage. The Church does want to be part of people's lives; we need to move ourselves to where people are."

One and half thousand people auditioned for the show. Three couples were matched together and while two ceremonies took place, the third bride pulled out at the last minute. The two weddings were civil ceremonies and Revd Devenish did not lead the services.

His diocese hasn't commentated but the Church of England said: "Christians believe marriage is a gift from God and should mirror the love that God has for all of us - love that remains true, faithful, protective and respectful."

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