A Vicar from Devizes has announced his plans to marry his Nigerian male model boyfriend, causing a stir amongst local Christians.
The Rev Colin Coward, 64, a priest at St John the Baptist church in Devizes, is to enter into a civil partnership with his boyfriend Bobby Egbele, 25. The union has caused a stir among Christians because the couple plan a carefully-worded “blessing” service in church after the ceremony.
Mr Coward has also declined to confirm that he will remain celibate following the union, which is a requirement the Church of England asks of its ordained homosexual clergy.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr Coward, who lives with his boyfriend in Marston, near Devizes, said he hoped his union would set a “visible example” to other homosexuals within the church.
He said: “My goal is for everyone within the church to feel comfortable with the situation because at the moment the majority of gay Christians marry secretly. It is a taboo subject but the church is now under huge pressure to change its stance and that pressure will only increase in the future.”
“Clearly the blessing is going to be quite a sensitive issue. I know that many people will see it and view it with horror, but we are both deeply committed Christians so it would be unthinkable for me not to do it in church and not to do it with the congregation and with all of our friends.” he continued.
The pair are due to have a civil partnership ceremony on Oct 9 at the register office in Devizes before holding a service at St John the Baptist Church.