The Church of England has banned it. Archbishop Desmond Tutuprevented his daughter from performing her godfather’s funeral because he is married to a woman.
Martin Kenyonwho died earlier this month at the age of 92, left clear wishes for his godmother, the Reverend Mpho Toto Van Furth, an Anglican priest, to perform his last rites.
But his family’s request to hold the ceremony at their local church in Shropshire, England, was turned down by the Diocese of Hereford. Because the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s daughter is in a same-sex marriage.
In an interview with CNN, Tutu Weinfurth said Kenyon’s daughters planned to hold the funeral at St. Michael and All Angels Church in the village of Ventnor, where he lived.
He said of his godfather, “His house was next door in Shropshire and he was a member of that parish for 30 years.
Same-sex marriages were legalized in England and Wales in 2014, but the Church of England’s official position is against it and its ministers cannot perform or bless such ceremonies.
In a statement sent to CNN, the Diocese of Hereford, in which the church is based, said: “We recognize that this is a difficult situation. The advice is in line with the House of Bishops’ current guidance on same-sex marriage. was given
Toto Van Furth was ordained in 2004 in the US Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia. The Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion like the Church of England, allows its clergy to perform same-sex marriages.
Toto van Furth said she felt it was time for the Church of England to move with the times, but added: “The Church moves at the pace the Church moves. I don’t know. When will there be enough people who are left to grieve or when will there be enough people who have suffered enough that the church will change. But there will come a moment.”
Rather than entrust the funeral service to someone else, Kenyon’s family chose to hold it in a marquee in the vicarage garden next door.
“The children felt it was more important to respect their father’s wishes regarding his funeral and so we had a beautiful funeral in a marquee in the garden,” Tutu von Furth told CNN.
Kenyon, who was interviewed by CNN in December 2020, when he became one of the first people in the world to receive a CoVID-19 vaccination, was a close friend of Tutu von Furth’s late father.
Archbishop Tutu, ordained in the Anglican Church in 1960, spent the 1960s and 1970s shuttling between his native South Africa and London. It was then that he first met Kenyon.
Toto van Furth told CNN: “My parents came to London in 1962. My father arrived before my mother and my father and Martin became friends. Martin met my mother on a boat from South Africa and when I Born in 1963, my parents asked Martin to be my godfather.
“My mother said that it was Martin who was most responsible for making my parents feel at home in Britain. He had personal claim to have fed me my first meal – a teaspoon. Champagne!
The decision to prevent Toto van Furth from performing at the church was described as “homophobic” by his wife, Marceline Toto van Furth, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases in the Netherlands, where the couple lives.
In one An open letter to God was published on LinkedIn.he described himself as an atheist who had been “very warmly welcomed into this religious household”.
In the letter, he quoted a quote from his late father-in-law, who famously said that he Homosexuals will not worship God.and added: “I’m asking you: please help those in the Church of England who are definitely gay to clear their minds and allow a priest to marry anyone who is gay. A coin they respect and love.”