The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, will be the preacher at this year’s Service of Welcome for Pride at the Church of St John the Evangelist in Preston Park, which takes place at 2pm after the Pride Parade.
St John’s has held a Pride service for many years but this is the first time the Bishop of Chichester has officiated. His willingness to be the preacher is highly significant and represents a very welcome shift of attitude in the Anglican hierarchy.
Dr Keith Sharpe, Chair of Changing Attitude Sussex, commented:
“It is marvellous news that the Bishop of Chichester will preach at the Pride’ Service of Welcome’. In the past the church authorities in Chichester did not openly support this event. But now that the new bishop, Dr Warner, is going to be the preacher we are hopeful that there will be a sea change in the attitude of the Church of England towards LGBT events such as Pride. We hope that many Anglican clergy and their congregations will feel able to march with us in the parade and come with us to the service to hear what the Bishop has to say. We are really grateful to Dr Warner for his courage in taking this step, and we hope that he will be well supported in the church. It is always a beautiful and moving service, but short so there is always plenty of time to enjoy the activities in the park afterwards. All are welcome and we encourage everyone to come along.”
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