2:09 p.m. May 20, 2022
15:34 20 May 2022
A church in St Albans is hosting the launch party for a series of gay pride events taking place across the city next week.
The town’s Pub Pride will kick off at St Saviors Church on Sandpit Lane on Friday 27th May with an event to celebrate life and love in all its rainbow of colours.
This journal spoke to the Vicar of St. Sauveur, Father Richard Watson, about diversity within Christianity and the relationship between heteronormativity – the assumption that everyone is, or should be hetero – and the church.
He said: “I have been Vicar of St Saviors Church for five years now and very early on we discussed how we could be more proactive in terms of supporting LGBTQ+ members of the wider community. And offering them a genuine welcome.The result of that conversation was that we signed up with Ask For Clive with Founder Danny Clare and were the first place of worship to do so, combining our commitment with theirs to say that “Everybody is welcome here”.
“Christians have a range of responses to questions about sexuality, but the Church of England is changing in its response to gay people and I’m sure things will continue to change in the years to come.
“At St Saviors we take seriously the verse from 1 John that says ‘God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them’ which is quoted at the start of every wedding service.
“In my opinion, it is ridiculous and untenable for the church to deny equal marriage to same-sex couples.
“We are very pleased to welcome Ask For Clive for the launch of their Pub Pride event, and St Albans should be justifiably proud to be home to what has now become a national event reflecting change in our society for recognizing that love is love and offering a true welcome to all.
“For the church, the big question is how we interpret the teachings in the light of modern life and understanding.
“It is very easy for us to choose the pieces of the Bible that we pick up and run with. Perhaps we should pay as much attention to the verses that prohibit wearing mixed fiber clothing or not eating of crustaceans.”
St Saviors has a mixed congregation and an inclusive statement on marriages and blessings. He says: “Unfortunately at present we are not legally able to offer church marriage for same-sex couples, but we believe the Church of England should (and eventually will change) his pastoral practice. In the meantime, it is possible for any couple to have prayers following a civil partnership or civil marriage.”
The vicar explained that at a previous parish, other clergy members refused to work with him because of his theological understanding of sexuality.
Venues in St Albans will open on Friday evening to celebrate Pub Pride, with many of the city’s landmarks lit up in the colors of the rainbow, including the museum and the cathedral. There will also be photo stops and other pop-ups around the city center, and confirmed events include film screenings, classic Pride karaoke, community group get-togethers and even rural walks! To see pubpride.com for more details.