Sam Smith with Rev Dr Alan Race

SAM SMITH, the openly gay singer who has recently won four Grammys and two Brit Awards after only one album, released a new video this month depicting a same-sex marriage, filmed in a liberal Anglican church in London.

The music video for the single Lay Me Down was recorded in St Margaret's Church, Lee, with the permission of the Rector, Revd. Dr. Alan Race, a Modern Church Council member and Chair of this year's Annual Conference.

It depicts the 22 year old soul singer at a funeral in the church standing in front of the deceased's coffin, then a flashback reveals that Smith actually married the man in question in the same church. The video then returns to the present day, some time after the funeral, with Smith mourning the loss of his husband in the empty church.

Paris vigil for terrorist victims

The recent terrorist killings in Paris have once again revealed the vulnerability of religion to terrorist abuse.

Westminster Faith Debates logo

In his presidential address to General Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of divisions within the Anglican Communion, and of the prize of being able to develop unity in diversity. Closer to home, he is supporting ‘facilitated conversations’ in the CofE as a way of healing rifts over the issue of gay marriage. What’s the chance of success?

A recent survey of CofE clergy by YouGov, commissioned by the Westminster Faith Debates, reveals a major obstacle in the way of the Archbishop’s goal of ‘disagreeing well’: a relatively small group of the most evangelical male clergy.

Evangelical profile

When asked where they fall on spectrum from evangelical to catholic, roughly a third of all clergy say they are at the evangelical end, a third at the catholic end, and a third in the middle. The third at the evangelical end hold some distinctive and pronounced views.

Wesminter Faith Debates logo

The findings of a new survey of 1,509 Anglican clergy, commissioned by the Westminster Faith Debates to support a new series on the Future of the Church of England, are available here.

Findings include:

Clergy united by  'personal God' and parish system

  • Anglican clergy are united by their strong belief in a “personal God” (83%) rather than in more impersonal understandings of God – like “spirit or life force.”
  • The same proportion (83%) are committed to the ancient parish system, which divides all England into areas served by a priest with a free vicarage, even though the system is under pressure with falling numbers of clergy and worshippers.

The Modern Church stall

MODERN CHURCH has been to Greenbelt where an exciting and very successful festival was held in Greenbelt's new home at Boughton House near Kettering.

We teamed up with Progressive Christianity Network Britain in the resources tent - GSource - featuring the Together in Hope publications which we publish jointly with PCN Britain, St Marks Centre for Radical Christianity and Free to Believe.