Church of England Promotes Lesbian Who Marched in Pride Parade to Top Ministry Position
On Monday, the Church of England announced it had promoted Dr. Mandy Ford, canon chancellor at London's Southwark Cathedral, to the position of "Interim Director of Ministry." Ford is a lesbian in a same-sex partnership, and a photo posted by Southwark Cathedral shows her protesting in an LGBT "pride" march. In November, she will publish her book "God, Gender, Sex, and Marriage," which has been hailed by transgender activists.
The Church of England officially supports traditional marriage between one man and one woman. PJ Media reached out to the Church of England for a statement, wondering if Ford's promotion signals a change in the institution's views about marriage and sexuality. The church dodged the issue.
"Cathedral chapters in the Church of England are free to participate in public events as they see fit," a spokesman told PJ Media. "We are delighted that Dr. Ford is taking on the role of Interim Director of Ministry."
Raised in Hong Kong, Mandy Ford moved to London as an art student, later becoming a primary school teacher. She was ordained a deacon in 2000 and ordained a priest in 2001. She studied theology at Oxford and Nottingham. After serving in various positions, she was appointed the canon chancellor and director of ministerial education at Southwark in 2014.
In her current role, she oversees the training of curates, professional development of the clergy, and training and discipleship for lay people. Her role as interim director of ministry essentially extends this to the entire country.
In June, Southwark Cathedral posted a photo of Rev. Ford with other priests and ministers holding a rainbow flag with the message, "Southwark Cathedral: Inclusive, Faithful, Radical."
"Following the success of our participation in last year's London Pride Parade, we will be marching with our Cathedral banner this year, too," the cathedral announced. The church even produced wristbands for the event, and declared that the church's participation in the parade marked "a clear witness to our mission statement of inclusiveness which many found moving and memorable."
Gavin Ashenden, a missionary bishop to England who rejected his ordination in the Church of England (and his position as honorary chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II) but kept his connection with the global Anglican Church, wondered "what signal [Ford's] appointment sends" in remarks to PJ Media.
Ashenden noted that Archbishop of Canterbury "Justin Welby has done all he could to calm the remaining orthodox and traditional clergy by saying that he saw no likelihood of any change in law or liturgy from the Church's present position on marriage."
Rev. Ford's promotion revealed that this position "was not telling the whole story," Ashenden insisted. "Behind Welby's public stance was a different set of values that he was slowly but surely implementing. So, when looking for a new Director of the Church's ministry, he has overseen the appointment of a prominent LGBT activist and gay pride proponent, herself in a civil partnership, about to publish a book next month welcomed by the trans community for supporting the kind of inclusion they are agitating for."