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CofE theological college holds 'gay slang' service

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A Church of England theological college has apologised after trainee priests held a blasphemous service using 'gay slang'.  

The service, which was not authorised by church officials, was held last week at the chapel of Westcott House in Cambridge.

The college's Principal, Revd Canon Chris Chivers, describing it as "hugely regrettable".

Rev. Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream said that the service "brings the Church into disrepute".

Based on LGBT 'Bible'

The trainee priests held the evensong service in 'Polari', an antiquated 'gay slang' language that is thought to have originated in Victorian London, to mark 'LGBT history month'.

The translation was based on the 'Polari Bible', which was compiled as a project in 2003 by the self-styled 'Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence', an LGBT activist group. In the Polari Bible, God is referred to as 'Gloria', Jesus is called 'Josie', and the Holy Spirit becomes 'Fantabulosa Fairy'.

A note that was produced along with the order of service explained that the service was "a liturgical experiment", and an "attempt at queering the liturgy of Evening Prayer, locating the queer within the compass of faith".

Blasphemous language

Services in the CofE must be conducted using approved liturgy. But the evensong service had not been authorised by the college, and was led by an ordinand rather than a licensed minister.

Blasphemous language was used throughout last week's service. A reading from Joel 2:13, which says "rend your heart and not your garments, return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate" was changed to "rend your thumping chest and not your frocks - and turn unto the Duchess your Gloria: for she is bona and merciful".

The traditional prayer "Glory be to the father, and to the son, and the Holy Spirit" was changed to: "Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy".

Worshippers were invited to respond to the line "O Gloria make speed to save us," with the words "O Duchess make haste to help us."

'Completely at variance' with CofE doctrine

Revd Canon Chris Chivers said that the service had not been authorised, and commented: "The service that was produced was completely at variance with the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England."

"I will be reviewing and tightening the internal mechanisms of the house to ensure this never happens again."

Rev. Andrew Symes, of Anglican Mainstream, said that holding the service "brings the Church into disrepute" and recommended that Westcott House issue a public apology.

Related Links: 
Church 'regret' as trainees hold service in gay slang (BBC)  
Leading Cambridge University theological college apologises for 'subverting the teaching of Christ' in church service (Telegraph) 
Bishops uphold teaching on marriage 


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