The Reverend Richard Coles has shared his dismay at the Church of England opposing equal status for the LGBTQ+ community, saying ‘churches are too slow to move’.
However, when he admitted that it ‘may be a while before reaching the end’, he was ‘full of hope’ – even if he was ‘a little weary’ after fighting for equality for more than 40 years .
Speaking about the speed at which things were changing, the celebrity vicar, whose civil partner David died in 2019, insisted that the church was “behind even professional football” after Blackpool. Jake Daniels came out as gay.
He explained: ‘The big fight for LGBT people in the Church of England is trying to treat us the same way the rest of the world is used to.
“We have heard the remarkable story of a 17-year-old footballer who was the first pro footballer since Justin Fashanu to make a career out of it.
‘Credit to Jake Daniels, this is an astonishing thing and a lot of people have said it is long overdue that it should have taken so long for football to welcome its first openly gay player.’
Speaking to PA news agency, the 60-year-old, who is promoting her first novel, Murder Before Evensong, said: ‘Many of us who are LGBT are in the church but the church is giving us equal status at the moment. opposes. What you expect and enjoy elsewhere.
‘It can be frustrating sometimes. I don’t want to pretend it’s an easy matter, it’s not. For this many people have to travel a long way.
Nevertheless, Coles, who was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, insisted that ‘we should not shy away from a difficult task if justice and human dignity are at stake’.
He said: ‘Churches are notorious for running because we walk at a different cadence to everyone else and we also have a long legacy.
‘We have 2,000 years behind us, which we contemplate on a daily basis, it doesn’t bother me much… when it turns upside down it bothers me.
‘At the moment there is a lot of arguments being made in the church that take a very conservative point of view and think that there is no version of the church in which LGBT people should be treated equally by all.
‘I’ve been fighting this fight for over 40 years and I’m actually a little tired of it, and a part of me really doesn’t want to be in that fight because I’ve gone round it so many times.
‘I just want to live my life with the people I love and care about and enjoy.’
This year Coles announced his retirement as a parish priest in Finddon, Northamptonshire, in April after 11 years moving to Sussex.
Speaking about his time there, he said: ‘I loved being a parish priest, I never found questions about sexuality in the way of being a parish priest.
‘It’s more institutional level. As an incumbent of the Church of England I was subject to a disciplinarian, and that is absolutely correct, but now perhaps I am able to speak about these matters more freely than I was when I was in office.
‘I certainly don’t want to leave the Church of England and I certainly don’t want to stop serving as a priest, but I especially don’t want to retain those aspects of its life that I feel are our Not consistent are the calls for truth and justice and human dignity.
‘I think everything will be alright in the end, it may take us a while to reach the end, I am full of hope.’
Murder Before Evensong will be published on June 9.
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