The first Church of England vicar in a same-sex marriage, is leaving his parish and claims of “institutional homophobia” in the Church means that he is blacklisted from another job.
Andrew Foreshew-Cain, 53, a member of the General Synod, left his London parish on Sunday, telling parishioners it was “a relief” because his Ministry, and other gay and lesbian clergy, was a “barely tolerated, not fully accepted and famous.”
The vicar of St Mary with all souls, Kilburn and St James in West Hampstead is moving to Manchester, where his husband, Steven, whom he married in 2015.
“In the normal course of things, I would like to see work in this area,” he said. “But I’m in the “black list”. I can’t be a priest because of the institutional homophobia of the Church makes it impossible.
“I am sure that many parishes would give me a job quite happily, but to find a Bishop who would be willing to take the risk of licensing me in this parish. I too prominent.”
The Anglican Church prohibits clergy from same-sex marriage, but he was tolerant of him in his current post.
Foreshew-Cain said that the Church’s position is not only harmful to LGBT people, but “serious damage” to the Christian community in the UK because of the message it sent to the wider public outside of the Church.
In a letter to parishioners, he explained: “when we got married, I was told that if I leave then officially active Ministry in the Church of England will come to an end, and that will probably happen.” He said the current leadership, “while the desire to let me continue here, refuses to license me to serve in another place.”
He wrote about the “constant pressure” works “institutionally homophobic organization that blindly denies that its policy and practice of deliberately harmful and discriminatory and wrong.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to no longer feel that a large part of me is unpleasant and forgoes the organization where I work and served faithfully for nearly 30 years.”
He is now looking forward to the reconstruction of the new couple home in the peak district, which is “irony”, he said, the old Vicarage.
“I will continue to go to Church. I’ll find a Christian community where I can worship and participate and contribute and to be desired. I will not cease to be a Christian. I feel that my ability to act as a priest is forbidden” Foreshew-Cain said.
He knew that between 20 and 25 clergy in same-sex marriages, but most operated under the radar or quietly converted their civil partnership to marriage.
Press Secretary of the diocese of London said: “presently, father Andrew Foreshew-Cain is a member of the clergy in the diocese of London. We understand that he plans to move to Manchester for personal reasons, but the diocese has not received his resignation at this time.”