Church of England BANS Desmond Tutu’s Anglican priest daughter from officiating at her godfather’s funeral because she is married to a woman
- Mpho Tutu van Furth has been banned from officiating her godfather’s funeral
- The ban came from the Church of England because she is married to a woman
- The Church of England does not allow allow same-sex marriage in its clergy
- But the Episcopal Church in the US, of which Ms Tutu van Furth is a part, does
- Ms Tutu van Furth said the decision ‘seemed really churlish and hurtful’
The daughter of the late Desmond Tutu has been banned from leading her godfather’s funeral by the Church of England because she is married to a woman.
Mpho Tutu van Furth, who is a practicing Anglican priest in the Diocese of Washington DC, had been asked to officiate the funeral on Thursday in Shropshire.
The decision ‘seemed really churlish and hurtful’, Ms Tutu van Furth told the BBC.
In a statement the Diocese of Hereford said: ‘Advice was given in line with the House of Bishops current guidance on same-sex marriage.’
Mpho Tutu van Furth (left) had her licence rescinded in South Africa in 2015 when she revealed her sexuality and married Marceline van Furth (right), a Dutch academic
Ms Tutu van Furth (left), the daughter of the late Desmond Tutu (right) has reportedly been prohibited from leading her godfather’s funeral by the Church of England because she is married to a woman
The Diocese of Hereford said the ban was a ‘difficult decision’.
The Church of England does not allow same-sex marriage in its clergy, but The Episcopal Church in the US – of which Ms Tutu van Furth is a part – does.
Upon hearing the news, the decision was made to move the funeral service from St michael and All Angels in Wentnor to a marquee in the vicarage next door.
This was in order for Ms Tutu van Furth could officiate band preach at the funeral as planned.
She said it felt like a bureaucratic response and maybe ‘a lack of compassion’ but that ‘there was the joy of having a celebration of a person who could throw open the door to people who are sometimes excluded.’
Her godfather Martin Kenyon, then 91, went viral in December 2020 when he was asked how it felt to be one of the first people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
He said: ‘There’s no point in dying when I’ve lived this long, is there?’
Ms Tutu van Furth had her licence rescinded in South Africa in 2015 when she revealed her sexuality and married Marceline van Furth, a Dutch academic.
Her father Desmond Tutu had campaigned in favour in gay rights and was in support of gay marriage.
In 2013 he said he would ‘refuse to go to a homophobic heaven’ and that he would not worship a God who was homophobic.
He added: ‘I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.’
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